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New Tesla feature opens the trunk automatically when your hands are full

Tesla's hands-free trunk.

Tesla owners with a massive teddy bear that needs to be given a ride can now open the trunk of their vehicle hands-free to get it in. A Tesla video highlighting the new feature shows a woman carrying an enormous teddy bear to her car, whereupon the trunk detects her presence and automatically opens. And no, it doesn’t only work for huge cuddly toys. The hands-free mechanism functions equally well if you’re carrying other objects like shopping bags, a large box, or a couple of suitcases.

Hands-Free Trunk automatically opens the trunk when you stand behind it briefly with Phone Key enabled

Works on new Model S/X (2021+) & upgraded Model 3

— Tesla (@Tesla) May 9, 2024

The hands-free system has arrived as part of Tesla’s recent over-the-air software update (version 2024.14), which brings with it a slew of other features, too. It works on the new Model S/X (2021 or later), as well as upgraded Model 3 vehicles, though it’s not clear if it will also be coming to Tesla’s Model Y (though some owners of the electric crossover have been using third-party apps to perform the same task). It requires an iPhone 11 or later and Tesla app 4.31.0 or later. Android users can expect the same feature in a future update.

To enable the hands-free trunk feature, open the Tesla app and go to Vehicle settings > Locks, and then turn on Hands-Free Trunk. Also make sure your phone settings allow Nearby Interactions for the Tesla app.

The feature only works when the vehicle key is close to the car, which prevents accidental or unauthorized opening. And don’t worry, it won’t open every time you pass your car. You first need to stand for a moment at the rear and listen for three beeps signaling that the trunk is about to open. If you move away while the beeps are sounding, the procedure is canceled and the trunk will remain closed.

Many automakers have long had vehicles with a trunk that can be opened hands-free, though some require you to briefly wave your foot underneath the car to activate a sensor that causes the trunk to open. Tesla’s hands-free system requires no such balancing act and instead uses UWB (ultra-wideband) sensors to detect the location of the vehicle owner.

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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