Last week, Tesla unveiled the updated Model 3 Highland, which included a lot more goodies than we had anticipated but lacked one frequently desired feature. However, Tesla has since revised the EU Owner’s Manual for the Model 3, which indicates that a real blind spot indicator is now part of the upgrade.
A Widely used Feature
Recent years have seen the widespread use of blind spot indicators, which provide drivers with a visual cue if another vehicle is present behind them in an imperceptible area when changing lanes. However, Tesla has not yet offered this capability. It has up to now relied on its Autopilot camera system and its visualisation features to provide drivers additional knowledge about what might be in their blind zones.
When a driver presses the turn signal, these features activate the side camera, allowing the driver to see what is nearby and providing a visual representation of the area around the car and the other vehicles in it. The problem, however, is that when executing a driving manoeuvre, drivers must now glance down and to the side at the centre screen of the car rather than out the windows or in the mirrors at what is next to them. Although it’s not terrible, it’s not ideal, and many drivers are now used to having indicator lights on the side mirrors or next to the A-pillar.
On the Model S and X, the situation is a little different because such visualisations are offered in the driver’s instrument cluster, a separate screen in front of the driver that the Model 3 lacks. When a driver is looking to their left or right to change lanes, this is less difficult for them to see than the centre screen, but it’s still not ideal.
What are the Advantages?
We now have true blind spot indicators in the speaker grille adjacent to the A-pillar of the new Model 3 Highland update. It is depicted in the European Model 3 owner’s manual, and we’ve also briefly seen it in action in a YouTube review of the automobile.
However, the Owner’s Manual does mention the driver door specifically. Additionally, the LED light has only been visible on that side, not the passenger side. It appears odd that this blind spot indication would only be on the driver’s side of the car rather than the passenger side. The driver’s side blind spots are more noticeable because it’s more difficult to turn your neck in that direction, but if adding the blind spot indicator to one side is so inexpensive and straightforward, why not the other as well?
It is likely that it is utilising the car’s autopilot cameras to detect cars in the blind area and then lighting up the light if it finds one there when you’re trying to change lanes because there is no sign that Tesla has added any new sensors to the vehicle. This is the only Tesla with a blind spot indicator as of yet. We don’t know when this function will be added to other vehicles, if it will only be added to other models as part of a major update, or if Tesla just intends to add it to specific models. (For instance, it might believe that the S/X’s driver instrument cluster is sufficient.)