The 2022 Rivian R1T is a fun electric pickup—check out our first drive and longer-term reviews while you're here!—and it's also chock full of fun gadgetry and gizmos like a detachable speaker and a flashlight hidden in the driver's door. And similar to a Tesla's Sentry Mode, the pickup also utilizes its multiple cameras as part of its Gear Guard feature to keep an eye on both your stuff and your truck. It felt voyeuristic as hell to use, but it ultimately did give me a bit more peace of mind during the week that I had the R1T.
A standard feature, Gear Guard is comprised of three parts: the cable that you can use to strap cargo down in the bed, the video that uses five of the truck's 11 cameras to capture a surround view of the truck (front, rear, both sides, and in the bed itself), and the alarm that sounds and sends an alert to your phone if something disturbs the vehicle after you've left it. Gear Guard is always on, unless you manually turn it off, and activates and starts recording when anyone or anything comes within about one foot of the truck.
And I mean anything. It didn't just capture the neighbors or my friends, it also apparently activated when some local wildlife decided to stop by.
Much like how a dashcam works, the recorded footage gets uploaded to the truck's drive and can be further saved and downloaded. Otherwise, it'll just keep recording over old footage.
The truck tips you off when it's recording, too; a little yeti-looking figure in a red vest pops up on the central infotainment screen with a camera to indicate what's going on. (One Instagram commenter said the figure has unofficially been named Gary on the Rivian forums.)
Because I live in 2022, I always expect our electronics to be watching or listening in some regard, but I'd never experienced it as blatantly done as I did in the R1T. There was no audio accompanying any of the footage, but I could plainly see what people were doing around the truck. One time, when we'd left it at a public charger and departed for dinner, we came back and checked the footage to see a person and their partner approach the R1T. The partner hung back, so it was clear who was leading this charge. We watched the first person gesturing at some of the Rivian's exterior features excitedly to their less-than-enthused partner. They were a fan. Hey, it was better than the alternative.
But by the same token, I found myself taking circuitous routes around the truck when it was parked, purely because I knew it'd be watching and it made me uncomfortable. I didn't feel like showing up on the footage—especially that of a truck that didn't belong to me and was going back to an automaker fleet. Does that give me the right to watch everyone else? I don't know.
Luckily, nothing worse happened during my loan other than some curious people coming by for a closer look. The Rivian R1T is still new enough to be a public curio, that's for certain. I was raised to never leave anything in my car if parked, but if I was an R1T owner and I had to, I'd be grateful that I had this extra backup.
If you're out and about and you see a parked R1T, you can look all you'd like but maybe rethink doing something like picking your nose while standing next to it. There's a solid chance the truck's looking at you, too.
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