I’m going to be doing a series of posts around various hacks improve the usability of Tesla Sentry Mode and USB Security video storage
I’m a Hobbiest (Software Engineer and Nerd) and Tesla Owner (Model X), and did some hacking to try and make the USB video storage functionality (details below) more functional. I’ve realized that nobody documents their hacks in ways that regular folk can leverage them anymore and so I’m trying something new here and will be doing a series of posts (all with #BadTeslaCam tag) around “Hacks” to fix these problems in ways that hopefully can reach more folks than the Github Readme’s and reddit posts I’ve seen so far. If you’ve got a Tesla, or just like hacks, read on.
Tesla introduced a feature that allows for automatic security footage recording onto a USB Thumb Drive
Tesla added a feature to their cars over a quiet software update that allows for both recording of dash-cam style footage (by pressing a button on screen while driving to capture the last few minutes of footage), and to automatically capture motion when folks walk by your car (Tesla Sentry Mode).
However cool the feature is, it still is partially baked and is missing some critical functionality
I love that they seemed to add this feature simply because they could. There are cameras facing front, left, and right on the car for the self driving functionalities, so why not make the functionality available. However, as of right now there are some pretty annoying behaviors to actually using the tech as designed:
- The videos are large, and quickly fill up a regular sized (16GB) or even larger thumb drive. [RESOLVED]
- Transferring these files to a computer where you can watch them is via “Sneaker-net”… ie, taking the drive out of the Tesla, walking it up to a computer, plugging it in, downloading (slow) the files onto said computer, deleting them to clear space for thumb drive, hiking the drive back to the car, and plugging it in. [RESOLVED]
- The videos come in triplets, a left view, center view, and right view, it’s nearly impossible to watch them in real time, because videos get out of sync.
- Each video is 1 min long (for security footage) or slightly longer and there are only normally a few seconds of video that are interesting, making it hard to “scan” and find relevant footage amongst the sheer volume of clips generated.
- There is no way to view the videos in your car or from a phone on the nice giant screen :(
The dream would be to have an in car browser which highlights relevant thumbnail jump points and plays the video side by side by side, stores footage on a drive over wireless and works well
I think all of this should be possible, either by building my own solution or taping together a few existing hacks. Please feel free to chime in if you’ve got a bigger dream, or follow through to the next post in the series for some of the hacks involved. I also totally get that there is a chance that Tesla will make this themselves, and it may end up being better than the sum of the hacks, but progress waits on no one (not even Elon Musk).