Advertisement

9 Tesla Features That Prove We're Living in the Future

From remote defrosting to 'valet mode' Tesla has more than a couple tricks under its hood.

 Tesla's range of vehicles are some of the most interesting, and well-designed, automobiles of all time. Apart from looking sleek and futuristic, they also come packed with some other interesting features that owners may not necessarily be aware of. 

Some of the top ones are: 

  • Auto-climate adjustment — By pressing the on-screen temperature gauge of a Tesla's screen, you can kick the climate control into auto mode. If you press and hold on to the icon for a few seconds, you can manually adjust the preset temperatures. 
  • Quick access preference menu — Most Tesla users know they can set shortcuts for their preferred functions and access them using the shortcut menu at the bottom of the screen. But, there is another way of accessing this menu. Simply swipe up on the screen instead. 

  • Most Teslas come with "Dog Mode" — Another interesting feature is something called "Dog Mode". This function prevents parked Tesla cars from overheating while also displaying a message that "My owner will be back soon". 
  • Tesla cars have a "Ludicrous and "Plaid" mode  — Another amazing feature is the so-called "Ludicrous" and "Plaid" modes. These modes are available on the Model S and give your car access to super-fast acceleration. 
  • Model S and Model X cars come with "bioweapon" defenses — Yes you read that right, Model S and Model X Teslas have a special HEPA filtration system that automatically activates in response to external air quality. 
  • Karaoke on the go — Called "Caraoke" most Tesla infotainment systems come with a karaoke function. Hours of fun.

What are some of the coolest futuristic features of Tesla vehicles? 

Here then are some of the main features of Tesla vehicles that show we are, indeed, living in the future. The following list is far from exhaustive and is in no particular order. 

1. Tesla owners are able to defrost their cars remotely

Snow is awesome — we defy anyone to argue otherwise. 

But, if you need to dig your car out in the morning (or are running late for work), a build-up of snow on your car can become a real pain in the backside. 

Depending on where you live in the world, clearing a snowed-in car can either range from a minor annoyance to a potentially major physical workout. Either way, you are going to need to leave your house to do the work.

If you are a Tesla owner, however, "there is an app for that". 

One of the best features of Tesla cars is the ability for their owners to remotely defrost their cars via an app. Unlike the rest of us plebeians, Tesla owners can use this feature to melt snow and ice from their windscreen and other windows without leaving the comfort of their warm homes. 

The ability to defrost your Tesla remotely is not a specific feature per se, but is possible using your car's built-in "Climate Control" function. 

This is not only handy, but the process appears to be far more efficient than scraping snow and ice off by hand or using warm water or chemicals. This timelapse video details how the process works. 

Advertisement

Of course, on particularly hot days, you can get your car nice and cool ready for your arrival without having to sit stewing inside the car until the AC kicks in.  

2. Tesla vehicles actually come with a special "Valet Mode"

tesla owners in the future valet mode
Source: Anthony Easton/Flickr

Unless you are planning on imbibing on a night out, driving yourself to and from a venue can save you a fortune on taxi fares. The same is true when traveling to and from a hotel, airport, etc. 

However, traveling to these places usually comes with its own inherent problems — finding somewhere to park.

Thankfully, this problem has had a solution for many years thanks to the advent of valet services. However, if your car is a particularly expensive model, you may fear that your particular valet may decide to take your car for a little spin when you're not looking. 

Advertisement

While most valets are highly professional and would never dream of abusing your car while it in their care, you can't be too careful nowadays. 

Thankfully, Tesla has already created a solution for you.  A special feature called "Valet Mode", lets Tesla owners restrict exactly what a valet can get up to with your pride and joy. By activating it, you can hide personal data from the touchscreen, limit your Tesla's maximum speed and performance, and also lock the trunk and glove compartment. 

This feature will certainly put your mind at rest. 

3. Keys are, almost, a thing of the past for Tesla owners

tesla owners live in future keys
Source: chrisinphilly5448/Flickr

Another proof positive that Tesla owners appear to be living in the future is the fact that physical keys are more or less redundant for them. The Tesla app comes with a special feature that allows Tesla owners (and their friends) to use their car without ever needed a physical key.

Advertisement

The keyless driving feature lets you add your smartphone as a "key", enabling you to simply walk up to the car, open the door, and get in. Not only that, once the car has detected that you've sat down (via a pressure sensor), you can start the car by pressing the brake pedal, putting the car into drive (or reverse). 

This feature is generally one of the most underrated features of Tesla cars, and one worthy of a bit more praise. 

But wait, it gets better!

Using the same app you can even add your friends and family to your Tesla account. Using their own Tesla apps on their smartphones, they are provided with the same convenience as you, the owner. 

This enables them to not only drive your Tesla but also get access to other features like roadside assistance and other upgrades. Of course, you can remove additional drivers at any time.

Advertisement

However, it is not without its potential pitfalls. As is commonly pointed out, this can be a very serious cybersecurity weakness — so be smart when using it. 

4. Tesla owners can summon their cars like "Kitt" from Knight Rider

For anyone born before the 1990s, the TV series "Knight Rider" is likely burned into their memory. It featured an intelligent and generally sardonic AI-driven car that can not only drive itself but can be summoned on demand. 

While Tesla owners have not been given the option to turn their cars into their own private "Kitt", they are able to summon their cars from their phones. Many wouldn't have thought this was even remotely possible (no pun intended) only a decade ago. 

However, the future is really with us thanks to the engineers at Tesla. 

The "Summon" or "Smart Summon" function is easily one of the car's most impressive features, and one that proves we are definitely living in the future, today. Originally, this feature was developed to allow Tesla owners to taxi their cars out of their garage or a tight parking space, but it has now evolved into something far more impressive. 

Advertisement

Available with Full Service-driving capability (FSD) only, Tesla owners are able to set a location and have their car meet them there. Alternatively, it is also possible to have your Tesla come to your current location using your GPS signal on your phone as a beacon. 

This functionality is especially useful during inclement weather. The feature is still in its beta stage but is very impressive nevertheless. 

5. Tesla's sentry mode seems straight out of a sci-fi film

Another awesome feature of many Tesla cars is their "Sentry Mode". Thanks to the large array of cameras around many Tesla models (originally intended for Tesla's autopilot function), these can be used for a secondary purpose. 

Since cameras can be found on the front, side, and rear of the car, Tesla's "Sentry Mode" can be employed to keep these cameras active when the car is parked or is otherwise unattended. This provides owners with the peace of mind that any nefarious agents hell-bent on vandalizing or even stealing, their car will be readily caught in the act. 

Advertisement

When Tesla cars are put into "Sentry Mode", they enter a kind of standby state whereby the cameras of the car are continuously monitoring the environment in the car's immediate vicinity. For minor threats, like someone leaning on the car, the Tesla will enter something called an "Alert" state, and displays a message informing passersby that it is currently recording. 

For more serious threats, like someone attempting to break-in, the car enters its "Alarm" state. This triggers the car's alarm, increases the brightness of the car's main display, and plays music at full volume. 

It also alerts the owner via their phone app with an option to download footage of the event (so long as they have a formatted USB stick connected to their Tesla). 

While this is a far cry for some other "Sentry" functions we've seen in some sci-fi films (the armored shroud for the Batmobile from Tim Burton's 1992 "Batman" springs to mind), it is a testament to how far car security systems have come in the last few years. 

6. Tesla's "Autopilot" function is definitely very futuristic

Another futuristic feature of many Tesla cars is their infamous "Autopilot" function. This function offers drivers the ability to benefit from adaptive cruise control, autosteer functions, and generally have a more enjoyable commute over distance. 

"Autopilot" has had various updates over the years, including traffic light recognition, all of which are invaluable for city commuting. 

The system, as previously mentioned, makes use of a suite of cameras around each Tesla to provide 360-degree visibility for the autopilot's AI. These cameras offer the car visibility up to around 82 feet (250 meters) away, and an array of ultrasonic sensors also provide additional detection capabilities to detect hard and soft objects within range. 

During operation, the hardware underlying the system constantly monitors the stream of data provided by cameras and sensors to make lightning-fast decisions in real-time. 

According to  Tesla, "This computer runs the Tesla-developed neural net, which is the foundation for how we train and develop Autopilot. This system provides a view of the world that a driver alone cannot access, seeing in every direction simultaneously, and on wavelengths that go far beyond the human senses."

However, while undoubtedly a true feat of engineering, this system is not without its apparent issues. Various stories have emerged over the last few years about how this system is far from foolproof.

This has also led some to blame Tesla's autopilot for a series of tragic crashes. Whatever the case, this function will only get more sophisticated and "smart" over time. 

7. Tesla's over-the-air updates really are a game-changer

Yet another impressive, and handy, feature of many Tesla cars is the ability to update the car's software relatively easily. This often means that even older models of Tesla can benefit from some of the latest improvements and upgrades. 

While this is common practice today for many apps on your smartphone (and other devices), the ability to constantly improve your car's capabilities is pretty revolutionary. The best part is that you can update the software overnight, giving your new and exciting functions you never knew your Tesla was even capable of. 

This is usually an automated process, but users can manually push for an update through the "Software" tab of their car's touchscreen if desired. Whichever method is used, automatic or manual request, the car will need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network of some kind — for obvious reasons. 

In most cases, each update will include improvements to a Tesla's operating system to make it safer and more capable over time. In some cases, updates include little gifts called "Easter Eggs" that offer users a special little feature not necessarily critical to operating or running the vehicle. 

For example, fun gifts in the past have included a way to change the standard internal and external car sound effects to a farting noise. Completely useless really, but a hell of a lot of fun — by all accounts. 

If that is not living in the future, we don't know what is. 

8. Tesla's supercharger network is simply incredible

tesla future superchargers
Source: DKart/iStock

Another proof positive that we are now living in the future thanks to the labors of Tesla engineers is its highly impressive supercharger network. Previously only available to Tesla owners only, the network has recently been opened up for other electrical car models (for a fee of course). 

Not only are Tesla supercharger stations being rolled out in many places around the world, but they also offer DC fast-charging for Tesla and other cars. This kind of service is critical for the mass rollout of EV cars around the world.

Given enough time, it is conceivable that charging stations, like those deployed by Tesla, could be as common a sight as a petrol station today. 

9. How could we forget the Cybertruck?

And last, but by no means least, the design of some of Tesla's fleet may just be a very real vision of the future. Take Cybertruck for example. 

Its radical, stealth-like, angular bodywork is truly a bold and visionary design.  Love it or loathe it, there can be no question that the seemingly alien, stainless-steel look of the vehicle is like nothing seen before for a road vehicle. 

What's more, Cybertruck's bodywork is not just for show. 

According to Tesla, "Cybertruck is built with an exterior shell made for ultimate durability and passenger protection. Starting with a nearly impenetrable exoskeleton, every component is designed for superior strength and endurance, from Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless-steel structural skin to Tesla armor glass."

By all accounts, the Cybertruck was inspired, at least in part, by the now-iconic "Wet Nellie" from the 1977 James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me". If you are not familiar with this car, "Wet Nellie" was a heavily modified Lotus Espirit S1 that had submarine capabilities, as well as a suite of other gadgets for Bond to use at will. 

While there is no news on whether the Tesla Cybertruck will also be able to transform for traveling underwater, it certainly looks like an impressive piece of kit. 

And with that, Tesla fans are your lot for today. 

These are but some of the many reasons that Tesla may just have dragged humanity a little further forward towards a kind of future promised by futurists of the past. Quite what the engineers and designers at Tesla will come up with in the future is anyone's guess, but it will certainly be exciting to see. 

Follow Us on

Stay on top of the latest engineering news

Just enter your email and we’ll take care of the rest:

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.