Tesla Sentry

Tesla’s New Sentry Mode Scares Off Thieves With ‘Darth Vader’ Voice

Tesla is making Darth Vader the unofficial voice of its Sentry Mode anti-theft system. The system gives owners a real-time view of what’s happening around their vehicles from their smartphones and includes a voice changer to use when speaking to those near the car.

Sentry Mode

As can be seen in the tweet above, Sentry Mode is a security feature for Tesla owners that want to monitor their cars. It’s similar to the smart home monitoring systems in common use, with microphones and cameras to capture nearby activity. The vehicular variant comes with additional active defense by letting owners be their own alarm system and tell people to back away if they get an alert of people leaning on or trying to break into their car. Instead of just letting someone speak in their own voice, however, the voice heard is more mechanical and a lot like Darth Vader in the Star Wars films, or at least some kind of robot. The audio feature is part of the latest update to Tesla’s mobile app and is only accessible by those subscribed to Premium Connectivity. The Darth Vader connection may be accidental, however, as Sentry Mode has already needed to revise its look over intellectual property rights. The original version took a little too much inspiration from HAL, the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Tesla revamped Sentry Mode’s look to avoid potential litigation and would probably face similar pushback if the voice were labeled Darth Vader.

Altered Voices

Voice filters like the one employed by Tesla have a lot of potential uses and are becoming particularly popular in gaming and online communications. Companies like Voicemod combine artificial intelligence with digital signal processing to overlay a different sound to someone’s voice as they speak. Voicemod’s linguistic stable allows game players to switch around to different voice options and even incorporate effects like echos in a tunnel during a ca racing game, or breathlessness when a character has been running for a while. Tesla probably won’t want those, but it’s easy to imagine the car company allowing at least a few options for people to choose as their voice when speaking on behalf of the car. Recent computing hardware advances make doing so not relatively cheap in resources compared to earlier systems. Tesla drivers have experimented with plenty of other tech features for the car, including gimmicking Apple’s Siri voice assistant to open the trunk of a Tesla Model Y car before it became a standard option.


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