Sentry Mode: Soooooo, what happens when the thief steals the thumb drive?

Sentry Mode: Soooooo, what happens when the thief steals the thumb drive?

ODWms | 13 février 2019

They’re probably working on that very thing, as we speak.

SPeditor | 13 février 2019

Are there LTE USB sticks that can automatically upload via LTE? If not, I can see this happening. Doesn’t need bandwidth to play video. Just uploading files to location for downloading later.

guydude | 13 février 2019

LOL.... the fact that one can simply steal the usb drive while they are already stealing other things seems like Tesla really forgot to simply add a SolidState drive into the car for these types of features.... Stick USB drive into slot.... enable every single time? .... huh??

lbowroom | 13 février 2019

Do you need sentry mode draining your battery when your car is parked securely in your garage at night?

jjt2122 | 13 février 2019

Has anyone gotten the update yet?

California85D | 13 février 2019

Not like the drive provides much real value anyway. The police aren't going to do anything with the video in most cases.

The greater value is the car making noise, and light, which, if enough cars do might cause the thieves to target a different make of car.

doug | 13 février 2019

Run a USB extension to the glovebox and place the USB drive there. Not too hard to do.

carlk | 13 février 2019

@California85D +1

daikoncat | 14 février 2019

Hide the real usb in the glove box like @doug suggested, but in addition, leave a usb "killer" decoy in your center console, so that the theif destroys his own device, when trying to view the contents of the usb lol

gmr6415 | 14 février 2019

+1California85D, That and the fact that the resolution is relatively poor on the front camera as compared to aftermarket dash cams. Looking back at some of the clips from mine rarely is it sharp enough to read a tag number.

I don't know myself, but I've read that all of the other cameras are low resolution black and white. If that's true how much worthwhile video can they record, and is the quality worth having in the first place?

Once they do some testing newer productions cars will probably come out with higher resolution, color cameras if sentry mode is something worth perfecting.

I can't say I've ever heard of a rash of aftermarket dash cams suction cupped to windshields being stolen, so what is the real chance of the USB drives being stolen?

jjgunn | 14 février 2019

Thieves that bust car windows usually aren't very smart.

kevin_rf | 14 février 2019

@lbowroom, the dogs clearly have opposable thumbs, it prevents them from rolling down the windows sticking heads out and taking it out looking for squirrels.

RedPillSucks | 14 février 2019

How is stealing the thumbdrive different from stealing an ICE car dash cam?

scherer326 | 14 février 2019

any good usb flash drives that people are using for the dashcam feature where you can plug the usb flash drive right into an iphone?

guydude | 14 février 2019

I have this one in both of our Model 3's. zero issues

reposado2 | 14 février 2019

Anyone who thinks Sentry mode will stop a homeless meth-head from a quick smash and grab of your car in the Bay Area is naïve.

At best you'll have a video of the incident(good luck getting the SF police to care) and a broken window.

crmedved | 14 février 2019

@scherer326 Can't plug it into an iphone, but might be helpful. I've been thinking about trying it out.

jimglas | 14 février 2019

can you access that drive remotely?

scherer326 | 14 février 2019
CST | 14 février 2019

The car has storage to keep videos - Tesla has been reviewing video of crashes long before the USB dashcam feature was enabled. They could just transfer it to the USB drive after the incident has passed.

CharleyBC | 14 février 2019

@guydude, how much dashcam fits on your 128GB drives? That is, how many minutes or hours worth?

disapr | 14 février 2019

If a USB extension cable could be routed into the front trunk then the actual drive can exist at the end and only the extension would be accessible from within. Probably routing the extension up into the dash is good enough unless they can just pull it out --- Would need to be looped around something.

gmr6415 | 14 février 2019
leed31 | 14 février 2019

Looks like you can plug in a USB after the incident and pull the videos (after the fact). Can someone verify this is in fact true by breaking in their own car (for science)? lol

Cited from

'After everything cools down, the owner can plug a USB stick into the car and pull video of everything. Tesla says that video starts recording 10 minutes before anything happens, presumably looping over its own footage until something happens, like a dash cam.'

hokiegir1 | 14 février 2019

@leed31 - that's not correct. This is from Tesla's official update on Sentry mode:
"They’ll be able to download a video recording of an incident (which begins 10 minutes prior to the time a threat was detected) by inserting a formatted USB drive into their car ***before they enable Sentry Mode***" (emphasis mine)

leed31 | 14 février 2019

You know, I was really hoping that the information on sentry mode from popular mechanics was correct. They had my hopes up. That said, I do hope there will be tweaks to this feature in the future to address the usb thing.

SteveWin1 | 14 février 2019

@disapr, That's a good idea, but I don't think hiding the USB drive solves the issue. Sure you won't lose the actual drive, but they can break your window, open your door, cut the USB cable where it comes out of the USB plug and your last 1-minute video will be corrupted.

If you really wanted to, you could probably use some forensics software to recover some of the footage from the drive, even with the corrupted file, but as others have mentioned, the police aren't going to use the video to go track down the homeless dude who broke into your car. If it was an angry ex or something, then it would be worth having the footage. If its a random person, its pretty useless to most people.

What would be awesome is if it used facial recognition to remember these people after a break-in, so it could notify the owner and set the alarm off as soon as it spots these people near any other Tesla car in the future.

disapr | 14 février 2019


You wouldn't need to cut it.. Simply unplugging it would provide a similar outcome. But this is still infinitely better than what you'd have it they were able to snatch the drive. There is probably a location where the USB signal for the front bus can be accessed under the hood or up in the dash someplace. It would seem however than no matter how elaborate a plan, somehow the criminal is always assumed to have symmetrical information which enables them to circumvent even the best plans while Toccata and Fuge plays at full volume through the broken window and open door.

I wonder how many crooks are going to continue working on the vehicle after the alarm goes off and the sound system starts blaring. Probably the vast majority will flee leaving quality video behind of their heinous act.

rdavis | 14 février 2019

I really don't care about sentry mode. I'd rather they add a glass breaking audio detection to setoff the built in alarm system.

suddled | 14 février 2019

Um, Superglue?!?!

rapiro | 15 février 2019

Why don’t they upload the video to your phone via the app? I’ve put a a 32gb thumb drive inserted into a usb hub ( so I can connect both sides of a Taptes wireless charger too. But to view the video, you have to pull the drive and insert it into a computer. Why not just be able to directly view it on your phone, which would leave the car with you?
Most new home video security systems have remote access via your phones now, why not Tesla’s?

stochasticat | 15 février 2019

There is a lot of room in that center storage area where the usb ports are located. Seems like someone could design an insert that make it much harder to get the usb key. Its just a car, so nothing is going to stop a thief with a lot of time and planning-- but 99.9% of the time you are dealing with someone who isnt going to spend a lot of time in the car once the alarm is going off.

wiboater4 | 16 février 2019

SteveWin1 I like your facial recognition idea. There could be a database showing the most active offenders . Then maybe the police would feel it's worth going after those people at least.

mmclean708 | 16 février 2019

If you insert the USB, close all the covers, turn on sentry many supposed drug heads are going to know to look for it and where? They are looking for quick money, will most likely run after the music comes on. I'm really not concerned about someone locating that little 8 GB stick....if they know that much they will try to take the whole car.

Magic 8 Ball | 16 février 2019

Just put a Black mamba in the console, sorted.

rmlee | 16 février 2019

Why are dumb questions asked on this forum?

billlake2000 | 16 février 2019

Dumb questions are the new normal.

jesus | 17 février 2019

"Run a USB extension to the glovebox and place the USB drive there. Not too hard to do"

Thieves would never think to look in the glovebox.

aslammazad | 17 février 2019

So I haven’t gotten the new update but I wanted to comment on this concern. To those that keep insisting that a thief could just steal the USB drive after breaking the window, I am fairly certain Tesla would have programmed the doors to remain locked after sentry mode is activated (disable opening of door from inside button press). So then how would the thief get the USB drive? Climb through a partially broken window and risk injuring him/herself??? Would they really go through that much trouble or would they just choose an easier target?

coselectric | 17 février 2019

Here's a project idea - modify a joystick to hide a USB hub and thumb drive in it, and leave the joystick plugged in the center console. Then your Tesla-savvy thieves will open the console to grab the thumb drive and just say, oh, that's just the joystick the guy uses to play Teslatari, nothing interesting here.

Hmmm... Never mind, I think I have a business idea for another over priced Tesla accessory. Forget I just said all that.

kevin_rf | 17 février 2019

Nah, a thief would think I can get fifty cents for that at game stop.

creativeguy | 17 février 2019

Rewire the USB port to the trunk and leave your center console empty and open. The thief will pass by.

nhunguyen | 17 février 2019

would you like Tesla build a cloud service charging you $10 a month to upload all the recordings?

rmg007 | 17 février 2019

1. What happen if the thief steals your BlackVue memory card OR the entire camera?

2. How is video of the thief going to help you anyway? Besides curiosity? Only if the thief is someone you know!

Does anyone really think the video is of high enough quality that the crime lab will be able to do CSI facial recognition OR that you will be able to go to the police station and look through mug shots in binders and ID the thief?

Sentry mode is another deterrent to potential thieves. Just like locking the doors, setting the alarm, parking in a good area, etc. The idea is that word will get out and they will find other, easier targets.

rxlawdude | 17 février 2019

Right. Deterrent.

Not like, oh, a wall that will stop all crime.;-)

kcheng | 17 février 2019

Use one of those low-profile thumb drives from Sandisk. The Cruzer or Ultrafit. They're so small, I lost the last one I had. A thief rushing to grab stuff, might not notice it, since it's not your typical thumb drive sticking out.

bj | 17 février 2019

Or Telsa will add a USB port to the back of the glovebox in the next iteration.

Lonestar10_1999 | 17 février 2019

Stupid question. If the Sentry Mode allows for continuous recording to the thumb drive, wouldn’t any abrupt disruption of either usb power or digital stream corrupt the file currently being recorded? I wonder if analog video recording would be more robust for security purposes.

Bennettb619 | 17 février 2019

What is the thumb drive

ODWms | 17 février 2019

The video graphic evidence should be displayed on the monitor at the time the car’s Sentry Mode senses trouble.