Can I opt-out from being spotted by Tesla Radar?

Tesla vehicles constantly broadcast unencrypted signals that any receiver (like a smartphone) in radio proximity is able to detect. The unique information that is publicly broadcasted by Tesla vehicles is unencrypted and - at the moment - cannot be disabled by the owner. Before Tesla is addressing this privacy issue in a software update, any app like Tesla Radar is capable of identifying Teslas.

Why does the app not discover my Tesla Model S / Model X?

At the time of writing, the only Tesla model providing the ‘Phone Key’ feature is the Tesla Model 3. Most likely, also the Tesla Model Y will have this feature. According to BusinessInsider, future versions of Model S and Model X will also be ready for ‘Phone key’. Rumors say, that the ‘Phone Key’ feature will even come by an OTA software update.

Where can I find Teslas in order to test the app?

Good spots to find Tesla cars are the <a href=https://www.tesla.com/supercharger" target="blank" alt="">Tesla Supercharger locations. Also big parking lots are likely places for spotting Tesla cars with ‘Phone Key’ feature. For a 100% likelyhood, visit Tesla Stores, Galleries or Tesla Service Centers! If you are not a Tesla owner, make sure to test drive one at these locations… and if you buy, please use the referral code at the bottom of this page ;)

How can the reliability of Tesla Radar be improved?

In Android 5 (Lollipop) the battery-optimizer feature got introduced. Battery optimization affects the reliable execution of background processes and therefore could affect Tesla Radar’s ability to spot every vehicle. It is recommended to disable battery optimization for Tesla Radar. The respective options menu is found in your device’s battery settings.

How does Tesla Radar work?

Tesla Radar is constantly scanning the surroundings for Bluetooth® Low Energy (also known as Bluetooth® SMART) beacons. Tesla cars with activated ‘Phone Key’ can be recognized by the app. Once the car has been identified by the app, information about the respective car is stored in a local database. Once the user has opted-in to share data, the information will be sent to a central location from where it gets retrieved and analyzed on a regular basis.

I changed the nickname of my device, but the new name does not show in the rankings?

Due to the inner workings of the data collection process, updates will show up after a delay of around 10 minutes after you device sent an update. Your device will only send updates if you enabled to ‘Share Data’ in the preferences menu and only if there is previously unsent information in your local database.

What do the symbols next to the Observation events mean?

In order to adjust scan aggressiveness, Tesla Radar is using the Google Activity Recognition API which is able to categorize user activity into a few classes of activity (e.g. in_vehicle, on_foot, on_bike, running, tilting, etc.). Tesla Radar is showing the detected activity at the time when a Tesla vehicle was spotted by a small icon.

What is controlled with the ‘Scan Aggressiveness’ setting?

The Scan Aggressiveness setting controls the intensity of the Bluetooth scanning process. A low level helps to save battery as there is a waiting time in between the scan periods which takes several seconds. The higher the agressiveness value is set, the shorter these waiting times become. Consequently, a high agressiveness level will consume more battery energy. The option ‘Adaptive’, sets the aggressiveness level depending on your detected activity. So the level will be lower in case you are walking compared with the level which is set, when you are in a vehicle moving at higher speeds.

How does Tesla Radar determine my home country?

Especially when it comes to RadarScore™ and the category ‘Out of Country’ views (OOC), the home country of the respective user is relevant. The backend process constantly evaluates the number of observation events of all the observing devices. Wherever the most observation events have been received from, automatically determines the home country of the respective device or user. Consequently, RadarScore™ changes will occur whenever the main observation area of a device changes.

Shouldn’t this be a privacy concern?

Depending on the perspective, the fact that Teslas with activated ‘Phone Key’ feature can be uniquely identified by technical identifiers that do not change over time, can be seen as privacy issue. The issue has been reported as ‘Privacy Concern’ to the Tesla Vulnerability Team on the 7th of July 2019 by the makers of Tesla Radar. Members of the Tesla Vulnerability Team assessed the report and came to the conclusion (23rd of July 2019) that mitigating the reported issue by using random identifiers would not result in significant privacy gain.

How can I support Tesla Radar?

If you plan to buy a Tesla, please support us by using the referral code ts.la/martin73114. You also can support Tesla Radar on Patreon.