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What is this antenna/sensor doing on this Model 3?

I bumped into this Model 3 today, with some very odd sensor or antenna attached to back of the roof, driver's side. A dark round rod, a couple of inches thick and about a foot tall, with a bit of an edge around the top.

My first thought was that it could be some sort of municipal vehicle (Los Angeles) measuring air quality. But it is very odd that the car did not have any markings or special plates and, most importantly, that it had a custom matte silver paint job. Kind of fancy for a car just doing that.

Any thoughts? Perhaps it is doing some autopilot testing? You could see some bulkyish equipment on the back seat through the rear window. The part seemed pretty firmly attached and there were no cables visible anywhere, unlike some other cars that I have seen carrying testing equipment.

Or maybe it is an aftermarket accessory that I am not aware of for... I don't know... vaping?


That would be HILARIOUS! Just imagine what the dashboard would look like...

Or perhaps it is a truly devoted SiriusXM fan.

But in all seriousness, since there are no cables visible, either this thing does not need cables (bluetooth? WIFI?) to talk to the rest of the equipment, or somebody drilled through the glass. And I don't think the latter is even possible.


Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
It could have a pass through cable (signal passes through the glass) that lets you not need a physical cable. But I still don’t know what it’s for. I think I saw those back in the day for antennas for transmitters so it might (?) be a ham radio or other sort of personal radio. That’s the only thing I can think offhand.

Anyone else?
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Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
maybe a remote control antenna to increase smart summon range. should save you a lot on airport parking,
Interesting but not sure how you’d hook into the car’s systems (in the mirrors). I think you’d need to hook it into the MCU actually. And Smart Summon is limited by distance, not signal. So, gonna say nope. :D

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