A photograph from a Model 3 owner has given a brief, first look at Tesla’s recently-released Sentry Mode. As it turns out, Tesla’s newest security feature contains one very appropriate and cool Easter Egg when it gets activated — the domineering crimson “eye” of HAL 9000 from the classic sci-fi film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The image of Sentry Mode while enabled was posted on the r/TeslaMotors subreddit by u/Spamium, who was fortunate enough to receive the security update today. Just as stated in Tesla’s blog post about the feature, Sentry Mode features a clear warning on the Model 3’s center display, with the words “Recording,” “Sentry Activated” and “Protected by Tesla” visible on the screen.
A picture of Sentry Mode’s display can be seen below.
Using a HAL 9000 Easter Egg as the headliner for Sentry Mode’s display makes sense for the security feature, considering the character’s notoriety in sci-fi cinema. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL 9000 is an AI that manages the systems of the Discovery One spacecraft. Over the course of the movie, HAL 9000 becomes more dangerous, ultimately resulting in the death of numerous members of the ship’s crew. The AI was depicted in the sci-fi classic as a camera lens containing a yellow or red dot, which gives the impression of the computer having an all-seeing “eye.”
Considering Sentry Mode’s functions, HAL 9000’s red “eye” is an accurate representation of the security feature. With Sentry Mode enabled, Tesla’s electric cars would start recording videos from its suite of cameras, allowing them to (hopefully) catch would-be thieves in action. Based on Tesla’s blog post about the recently released feature, it appears that the Tesla community member’s Model 3 was on the “Alert” state when the photograph was taken.
Upon activation, Sentry Mode enters a “Standby” state, monitoring the vehicles’ surroundings using the video feed from the electric cars’ external cameras. If a minimal threat is detected, Sentry Mode will shift to an “Alert” state, which would post a visible warning on the vehicle’s display stating that cameras are recording. In the event of an actual break-in, Sentry Mode would enter its “Alarm” state, which would activate the vehicle’s alarms, increase the brightness of the center display to provide some glare, and play loud music at maximum volume, attracting as much attention to the electric car as possible.
Once Sentry Mode enters the “Alarm” state, owners would receive a warning on their Tesla mobile app informing them that an incident has taken place. Owners would then be able to download a video recording from their vehicles’ suite of cameras 10 minutes before the threat was detected as well. It should be noted that just like the built-in dashcam feature, Sentry Mode requires a USB drive plugged into the car to enable video recording.