Tesla has implemented drone flyover restrictions at Giga Berlin and Giga Shanghai over the years, sometimes due to bad behaviour by the drone pilots, and sometimes to prevent sensitive information from being captured by the drones. With the latest restrictions at Giga Shanghai it appears to be the latter, suggesting Tesla is trying to keep prying eyes away from seeing their Project Highland Model 3 refresh.
Production of the Model 3 refresh at Giga Shanghai began earlier this month, coinciding with CEO Elon Musk’s first visit to China in three years. According to local media reports Musk was on hand to see the first units rolling off the production line on June 1. Now it appears Tesla has started testing the new Model 3 on the grounds of Giga Shanghai ahead of its official debut.
According to Giga Shanghai drone pilot Wu Wa, Tesla implemented new aerial drone control measures at the Shanghai factory on June 1, the same day Musk visited the factory and Highland production reportedly began. However in recent days those measures have been increased again with Wu Wa explaining the “control area around the factory has been expanded and the flight height has been limited to 30 meters with strong signal interference.” In his latest drone flight titled “Unapproachable factory,” Wu Wa had to setup and take off about 2km (1.2 miles) away from the factory, and if he tried to get any closer the signal would degrade and lose all video transmission.
The drone pilot also explains that what has been implemented goes beyond typical drone control measures in China, and says they have been implemented with the approval of the local government. Tesla isn’t only working with the local government on the restrictions however, with Wu Wa saying drone maker DJI would also have to be involved.
Tesla is staying very quiet on the Model 3 refresh, and for obvious reasons. Multiple test cars have been spotted on the roads in California with camouflage hiding new front and rear ends. However Project Highland involves much more than just changes to the bumpers, but is instead a complete overhaul of the electric sedan. An official release date is still unknown, but based on reports it could come as early as August or September.
You can watch the full drone flyover below.