Jessica Meckmann has a great idea for Elon Musk and Tesla. Her tweet asked them if there was any chance that Tesla’s premium connectivity users could get a radar overlay and severe weather warnings along their calculated route. This would be ideal for those on long road trips.
— TESLA_saves_lives (@SavedTesla) June 22, 2020
The U.S. has many variations of extreme weather, and more often than not, there are several occurring across the country. Right now there are mountain ranges on fire in Arizona, Gulf and East Coast states are at the beginning of hurricane season (we just had a tropical storm come through the Gulf of Mexico last week, Christobal). In the winter, the northern states have extreme snow and ice storms.
One argument that could be made against Jessica’s idea is that our phones already get alerts, but these only happen if you are near the weather event taking place. If someone is driving from Seattle to Orlando, it would be nice to see weather radar on the navigaion screen during the journey. Sure, this can be done by using Google, but it makes for safer driving and emergency preparedness to have it available on the touchscreen.
That type of trip would take you through a huge area in the country known as tornado alley. Knowing that there are storms along your route will help you plan places along the route to take cover. You don’t want to get caught up in a tornado.
One idea I would like to add to Jessica’s is for a system in which Tesla could let someone know that there is a potential storm along their trip. For example, if someone is driving from Shreveport, Louisiana, to Lafayette, Louisiana, the system could let them know that there is a storm near the gulf. Having that extra reminder from Tesla would encourage one to have an emergency plan just in case you find yourself having to evacuate, or might encourage you to take another route or delay your journey.
Examples Where Tesla Weather Radar or Storm Warnings Could Have Been Useful
There are a couple of somewhat recent examples where either a weather radar or severe storm warnings could have been useful for Tesla owners.
In 2019, Hurricane Dorian decimated the Bahamas and stalked the East Coast mercilessly. By the time it got up to Halifax, it was weak, but many up in the northern parts of the continent were not prepared for a hurricane. Hurricanes don’t usually go that far north.
— Kim Paquette 💫🦄 (@kimpaquette) September 3, 2019
In 2019, while on her epic Tesla road trip, Kim Paquette had a run-in with Hurricane Dorian. “I had been using the hotel’s charger before the hurricane after this guy showed up (not a guest) to charge because all the power was knocked out at all chargers / but not this one since it was on a generator,” she’d told me for another article.
If this feature existed back in 2019, it would have told Kim that there was a hurricane nearby and would have alerted her to make plans accordingly. Perhaps it would have warned her before her trip about the chance of it crossing paths with her destination.
In the UK, there was an unusual case of two Tesla families driving along the same stretch of highway towards one another when Storm Dennis knocked down a tree. Both families had Autopilot enabled, which saved all 8 people that were involved. Lucky for Autopilot to save the day, but perhaps warnings and radar from Tesla would have assisted the drivers before that was needed.
Tesla Autopilot saves family's lives after tree crushes car in Storm Dennis
EXCLUSIVE: Laurence Sanderson says it's a ''miracle'' his family are alive after a 400 year old oak tree came crashing down on their Model X car while they were on holiday in Dorset. https://t.co/Bh4IDTfuTe
— 🔋 Janne — FSD DOGE! 🚀 (@langejanne) February 17, 2020
Another idea for those who are driving in an active storm is for Tesla to suggest areas that are safe for you to pull over. Sometimes this isn’t possible, but for those other times when it is, it would be a big help to drivers for their car to know where to go for a safer path or shelter. This would take a lot of planning or intelligence on Tesla’s part, but it seems like a possibility. As a generic example, if tornados were spotted around a long stretch of highway, perhaps the car could recommend parking under an overpass — something a human may not think about doing when suddenly confronted with an F5 tornado.
People get emotional and panic, but Tesla’s AI doesn’t have emotions — just the intelligence to quickly perceive and react to its environment. I asked Third Row Tesla’s Kristen what she thought of this idea and how it would benefit Tesla owners. She told me:
“The ability for Tesla vehicles to watch the surrounding weather for changes globally gives an extra feedback loop into weather patterns. We see premium connectivity as a benefit to the consumer as it is but it will also be able to warn the driver of weather patterns they are driving towards just like it can with possible traffic delays. If Starlink were to give info to a central server that combined with the FSD learning software from live images — well there is a lot of potentials there.”