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Tesla Announces Dog Mode and Sentry Mode for Its Vehicles

This Tesla is protected by Tesla, and the dog’s cool, too.

Tesla is rolling out a new advanced alarm system called Sentry Mode, as well as new protection for pets left in the vehicle called Dog Mode, which sets a comfortable cabin temperature while the car’s owner is away.

Sentry Mode might just be what the Viper alarms of the 1970s and ’80s would have become had they been updated by the likes of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The system continuously monitors the vehicle’s surrounding environment when it’s left unattended. It starts with a “standby” state, which uses the vehicle’s external cameras to watch for potential threats, the automaker says. It moves itself into “alert” status if there is a “minimal” threat, whereby a message on the vehicle’s huge center touchscreen warns onlookers that the cameras are recording.

If the threat escalates to the likes of a broken window, the alarm activates, the brightness of the center display is cranked up, and the audio system plays music at maximum volume, while the owner is alerted on his or her mobile app. The owner can download a video recording of the incident remotely. The video recording begins 10 minutes before the incident, provided the owner has inserted a formatted USB drive into the car before enabling Sentry Mode.

Tesla began adding Sentry Mode to its owners’ vehicles beginning Wednesday via over-the-air updates, according to a press release.

Tesla’s huge center screen also is key to its new Dog Mode, which the company announced on Twitter. Dog Mode sets a cabin temperature that keeps the owners’ pets comfy when the driver makes a stop and leaves the car. The center screen lets any concerned passersby know the pets are safe with messages like “My owner will be back soon” while prominently displaying the interior temperature.

Dog Mode also is being added to all Teslas via wireless update.