Is there anyone who has not squished a finger in a car door? It is probably a rite of passage when growing up. But most car doors are not powered, so there was always someone to blame. The fancy Falcon Wing car door on the Tesla Model X (which we have complained about before) is a powered door, so it had special sensors to ensure that there were no fingers or cucumbers in the way.
The trouble was, the sensors kept sending false alarms, so the doors wouldn’t close properly and customers got frustrated. Jason Torchinsky of Jalopnik points to a video made by a Model X owner who does product reviews, and writes:
The most dramatic part in that first video is likely where he uses the Model X as an $80,000 vegetable slicer, the door easily clipping a cucumber in half. The videos do seem to show that those inside door panel inductive sensors are no longer operating, and the result is that an object can easily be crushed in the door.
Now a cucumber is not quite the same as an arm, and according to the guy who made the video, (and spoke to Tesla) the motors can detect if something is in the door.
Everyone’s had issues with phantom object detection which is caused by these inductive sensors. Take from this what you will, but it looks like they figured out a way to just remove them and use the motors in the hinges to detect. How it pinches, before with the inductive it stops on contact.
Jason is not impressed and makes some very good points about the issue, and the way Tesla just sort of slid it into the update:
But crushed vegetables aren’t the most alarming thing about this whole story. This specific example with the doors and the cucumber and pressure gauges is attention-grabbing, but it’s the unseen part that has me the most perplexed: if this proves to be accurate, this suggests that Tesla disabled a crucial safety feature of their customer’s cars without informing anyone. That’s a big deal.
It’s hard to disagree. These doors have been a disaster from the start; they are too heavy, to complex, too expensive and now, probably too dangerous.
It is a shame, really; Tesla is doing amazing things, and it is really showing the future of car maintenance, where they can do this all with a software update instead of a recall. But this is going to end in tears, and probably a few lawsuits.