A hidden camera – built into the bodywork of a new Tesla – has caught a vandal who “keyed” a car in a Sydney shopping centre parking lot.
One of eight tiny cameras – now standard on most new Tesla electric cars – captured vision of a woman who approached the vehicle before dragging a key along the bodywork, causing a deep scratch into the paintwork.
The Tesla – either a Model 3 or Model S sedan – had been programmed by its owner to be in “sentry mode” when parked.
In “sentry mode”, eight external cameras – including one in each roof pillar between the front and rear doors (pictured below), and in the corners of the headlights and tail-lights – constantly record vision even when the car is parked and unattended. When operating, the system consumes the equivalent battery power of about 1km of driving range per hour.
When the vehicle detects movement or damage it automatically stores the previous 10 seconds of vision and keeps recording for several minutes.
The large touchscreen inside the car also displays a warning that reads “you are being filmed”.
If someone breaks into a Tesla, the car automatically plays music at full volume and activates the lights and horn, although that did not happen in this instance as the vandal did not attempt to gain entry into the vehicle.
These images were captured when the Tesla was parked in the Westfield’s shopping centre in the western Sydney suburb of Penrith in February this year.
According to a report on Channel Nine news, the offender was this week given a 12-month “conditional release” by the court and ordered to continue with mental health counselling.