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With update 8.1, Tesla has added something it calls “Cabin Overheat Protection,” which is a fancy way of saying “You can now leave your kids and animals in your car and they won’t die a horrible death.”
Can be turned on or off. V8.1 will allow always-on min and max temps to be set.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 21, 2016
The feature works by automatically turning on the vents and air conditioning of the vehicle once the temperature inside hits a sweltering 105 degrees fahrenheit. That temperature is just the default setting, however, and the car can be programmed to activate its cooling features at much lower temperatures as well.
There’s no way to spin this as anything other than a feature for people who regularly leave their kids or pets in their vehicles, and if you’re one of those people, you probably don’t have a good excuse as to why. According to a study published in Pediatrics, an astounding 693 children have died of vehicular heatstroke since 1998, with 32 of those deaths happening so far in 2016. That number is up from 24 deaths in 2015, and 2016 year isn’t even over yet.
That being said, if this feature manages to save the life of a child—or a family pet—it’s worth Tesla’s time to implement. It’s just a shame that such a consideration even has to be made at all.
Mike Wehner is a former tech editor for the Daily Dot who now writes for BGR. His work has appeared everywhere from Yahoo to CNN, and there’s a good chance his Apple Watch is dead right now.