New feature: Electric Route 66 Dashcam

I am happy to announce the premiere of a new feature for Electric Route 66: real-time dashcam videos!

Like all Teslas, The Blue Spirit has many cameras that are used for self-driving, safety, and security features. Our car can record 4 of its 6 camera views onto a USB drive in a continuous loop. A feature called Sentry Mode records when the car is parked for security, and a dashcam feature allows drivers to save the previous 10 minutes of footage at the press of an icon on the screen, to be viewed later in the car or copied from the USB drive.

We decided to start recording some of our driving on Route 66 to share with everyone, thanks to the wonderful suggestion from Ruben at Valentine Station. Cheers, Ruben! 

Visit Ruben at Valentine Station, Arizona if you get the chance!

Cameras Overview

Here is a brief explanation of what you will see in the Electric Route 66 dashcam videos.
Currently, four cameras are recordable by the Tesla dashcam software

Top row center: front camera. The Blue Spirit has a trio of cameras at the top center of the windshield, and one of these is utilized for dashcam recordings.
Bottom row center: rear camera. The backup camera is used for the car's rear view. Located just above the license plate next to the trunk button, this camera has a fisheye lens.
Bottom row left and right: front fender cameras. These two cameras are located on the car's front fenders, just forward of the front doors, and they look rearward.

In the future, Tesla may decide to enable recording of the car's other two viewpoints - forward-facing cameras located on the B-pillars between the front and rear doors. If this ever happens I will add those views!

Enthusiast software makes it possible

When Tesla's dashcam videos are saved onto a USB drive, each of the camera views is saved separately, and each minute of footage is saved separately as well. This enables the Tesla software to record in a continuous loop without filling up the USB drive, by deleting the oldest 1-minute clips while it is saving the newest ones. When the dashcam button is pressed in the car, it moves the last 10 minutes of footage to a saved folder so that it is not automatically deleted. Each 10 minute segment contains 40 separate 1-minute clips. In order to make my dashcam videos, all of these files must be stitched together and composited into one video.

I turned to the internet for a solution to this process, and the independent developer community did not disappoint. Developer Erik Hendrix heads up a program called tesla-dashcam that merges separate Tesla dashcam and Sentry Mode videos, with many options and parameters for customization. This program is the core of the process. In addition, John Wunderlin at All Pro Software wrote a program called Sentry Keeper to view the Tesla videos, and which provides a Windows interface to utilize the tesla-dashcam program. A huge thanks for both of these products!

The first Electric Route 66 Dashcam: Valentine to Truxton

For our very first video, we are traveling Route 66 from Keepers of the Wild in Valentine to Truxton, Arizona. The video is played back in real time, lasting nearly 10 minutes. This area is a very rural, mostly two-lane segment of old Route 66. There is not a lot of attention-grabbing activity going on in the video; rather it is a leisurely excursion with the character of a Sunday drive. No doubt many will find this type of video boring! But for a roadie who likes to cruise, just to enjoy the scenery and watch the miles roll by, I hope it will be relaxing and pleasant. Especially for those who have not visited this section of Route 66 and want to see it as if driving it themselves. I hope you enjoy it.
Follow this link to YouTube for the largest possible view, or view the video directly embedded below.

Coming soon: more dashcam videos from northern Arizona!


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