Did You Like Tesla Model X Falcon Door’s safety features? Well, too bad, since you may never get to see them again after Tesla’s latest firmware update.
It has been speculated that Tesla has silently removed one of the most important doors safety features from its Model X electric car.
More specifically, Tesla has removed some safety features from the doors of its Model X electric SUV.
Tesla Model X has received much of its media attention not because it is one of the world’s fastest SUV that isn’t built on a conventional combustion engine but because of its peculiar vertically-opening Falcon Wing doors.
To be fair to Tesla, the vertical doors do look quite spectacular and stimulating when they are in action. But that uniqueness comes at a cost.
Namely, it is an absolute pain for Tesla Motors to build these vertical doors for Tesla Model X electric SUV. Now, as any company that wants to cut costs and survive in this hyper-competitive world would do, Tesla has started to cut some corners in order to make the doors easier to work with and satisfy customer complaints.
Tesla says that it has tried to make the vertical doors work better but the reality is that in the company’s attempt to streamline the process of building these doors and making them functional, it has, inadvertently (maybe) removed one of the door’s safety features.
In short, Tesla has made the super-cool looking vertical doors of its Model X SUV less safe by trying to cut corners in its programming process.
The main problem is with the vertical door’s sensors. In other words, the safety issue is being caused by the array of sensors that are installed on these vertical doors.
The Model X relies on a powered vertical door. These powered vertical doors, in turn, rely on a group of sensors to regulate the door mechanisms which determine if the door is in a position that may cause significant damage to the Model X electric car.
These sensors also allow the vertical door to guard against hurting a person by pulverizing a body part that might be in the way of the vertical door.
Now, it has been revealed that because of a recent update to the Model X’s firmware, for opening the vertical doors properly and on time, the chances of objects (or a more relevant example would be your hand) getting coming in the way of the vertical door (and hence getting crushed) have increased.
The new and updated firmware for Model X’s door was release is the early days of August. But because of that update the inductive sensors, that are supposed to prevent any incidents that might lead to a body part being crushed, have lost some of their functionality.
The inductive sensor’s other job is to alarm the customers if there is a danger of an object coming in the way of the vertical door. And because of the random nature of this issue, these inductive sensors sometimes give false alarms and hence don’t work.
This, most of the time, frustrates customers because for one they can’t drive the Tesla Model X electric car unless the doors are safely closed and second, it wastes a lot of time on a regular basis.
But the new firmware for these vertical doors has some other repercussions as well.
The issue with Model X Falcon doors was first given its due attention by a Tesla Model X SUV owner who broadcasts a Youtube channel named MetV Product Reviews.
The uploader to this channel made a two part video series which detailed the problem even more.
Check the two videos below to get a closer look at the exact problem the new firmware for Model X vertical doors has inadvertently caused.
Don’t forget the second part of the video,
If you have watched the whole of the first video then you probably have figured out by now that the part where the owner of Tesla Model X SUV slices that green vegetable with the $80,000 electric car’s door (effectively turning the state of the art electric SUV into a slicer) was a bit unnecessary if not overly dramatic.
With that said, there is no doubt that the vertical door easily cut the cucumber in half within a blink of an eye.
Don’t worry, we won’t ask you to imagine what that Model X SUV’s vertical door would do to your hand if it got stuck in the way of the door instead of that poor cucumber.
However, the one thing that the videos prove is that the inductive sensors on the door no longer seemed to work.
Because if they were operating properly then the door should have stopped the motion of closing when the cucumber was placed in its way.
The fact that it didn’t, shows that an object can easily get sliced into two if it gets in the way of that vertical door.
We also won’t blame you if you’re thinking to yourself right now that any sane person would make doubly sure that his/her hand doesn’t get stuck in the way of the door. Of course, this is something we all do regardless if we own a Tesla Model X car.
But can the two situations be realistically compared?
Doors in your normal cars aren’t powered. On the other hand, both the Model X’s vertical doors are powered.
In other words, there absolutely needs to be some kind of a safety measure in place to make sure that customers don’t hurt themselves in the process of entering or leaving the Tesla Model X SUV.
After watching the videos, there should be no doubt that the probability of a person hurting himself/herself because of these powered vertical doors is way higher when compared to your average SUV’s doors.
It shouldn’t be too hard to imagine a person reaching out for something through the door’s opening with his/her arm while sitting inside the Tesl Model X car when suddenly the door moves down to crush the person’s limbs.
And adults may be able to protect themselves against this risk but what about the kids?
Kids are usually not that competent when it comes to having awareness of their surroundings and it is certainly a possibility that some kid may not be able to realize that the door is closing while one of his/her body parts is in the way.
As mentioned before, the reason why these vertical doors aren’t operating as they should be is because of the inductive sensor’s updated firmware.
However, the vertical door isn’t completely helpless. Tesla engineers have installed some ultrasonic sensors in the lower part of the vertical door so that the door is able to protect itself from hitting another object such as low ceilings which you might encounter in a parking deck.
The door also has a set of pinch sensors in the weatherstripping to determine, or rather detect, the presence of a body part or an object in its way.
These sensors protect customers from cutting off their fingers or hands when opening and closing Tesla Model X’s doors.
As indicated before, the Tesla Model X Falcon doors also have inductive sensors which are located on the interior panel of the vertical doors.
These inductive sensors make sure that the door doesn’t crush anything inside the car. These sensors, just the like the previous two that were mentioned before, also help the door to detect the presence of an object or a body part in the doorframe.
Without these inductive sensors, the door would continue its motion, and crush (or slice) anything in its path, before the object or person has made contact with the pinch sensors.
Check out the video below to have a clearer understanding of the whole situation.
The updated firmware for Tesla Model X SUV has only disabled the ultrasonic sensors.
When the owner of the Tesla Model X car reached out to Tesla to complain about the problem, the company told him that these sensors that were installed on the inside door panels were no longer considered necessary.
Tesla also told him that these sensors were indeed turned off in the latest firmware.
The owner of the Model X SUV initially thought that since Tesla couldn’t find a way to get those buggy inductive sensors to work, the company simply removed them since many customers were having the same issues with those sensors.
Tesla of course, made no official statements on the removal of these sensors.
The owner also said that he was the only one who had a video,which showed how inductive sensors worked and detailed the changed behavior of the Tesla Model X car’s doors uploaded on Youtube.
The owner further added that everyone had issues with the phantom object detection which was caused by the inductive sensors not working properly.
So as a quick solution to the problem, Tesla just removed the sensors and used the motors in the hinges of the doors to detect objects.
The worse part about the whole situation is that Tesla did not even bother to inform any of its customers what the new firmware had done to the sensors of the vertical doors.
The firmware update notes simply said that the new update had improved the closing behavior of the Falcon Wing door which, as mentioned before, is misinformation.
And just for clarity’s sake, Tesla isn’t at fault for not being able to get these sensors to behave in the required manner.
It is okay if the company felt that the only way to fix the problem of false positives was to disable other safety sensors.
The problem is that Tesla should have felt the responsibility to inform the customers of their electric SUB. The company also should have announced the new behavior of the vertical door in more detail and listed out the possible dangers that the new firmware could have caused.
Right now, the company maintains its position that the software update only improved the closure consistency and reduced false detection of obstacles.
But the point remains: since Tesla sends these updates wirelessly to all Model X vehicles, the company is responsible for informing customers about disabled (crucial?) safety features.