With its latest firmware update for the Model X, Tesla fixed a recurring problem owners had with the Falcon Wing doors. The doors would often stop in the middle of their opening or closing process because of “phantom detection” – detecting a non-existent obstacle.
But now Tesla’s fix appears to increase the risk of pinching and some owners are voicing their concerns and calling the new feature dangerous.
In the software update v188.8.131.52.100, Tesla reduced the sensitivity of the inductive sensors located in the roof panel of the Falcon Wing doors.
By reducing the sensitivity, the automaker appears to have mostly fixed the phantom detection issue, but now it looks like it had the consequence of also not detecting real obstacles between the door opening and roof.
The most likely obstacle that could end up on this part of the vehicle is a hand, which increases the risk of injury.
The issue was first brought up in a widely shared video on Tesla forums. The video shows a Model X owners demonstrating the new behavior of the door using a large cucumber:
Now the doors do stop after it feels resistance, but in another video below, the Model X owner shows that it can apply as much as 70 lbs of pressure before stopping, which can be dangerous.
The thing to remember is that someone needs to initiate the closing process at the press of a button. You need to make sure that nothing is in the way when initiating it, exactly like you would if you are initiating it on a manual door. But a better comparison would be an automatic sliding door that you would find in a minivan, which are equipped with safety sensors.
With this said, Tesla could also find a better, more accurate level of sensitivity for the inductive sensors in order to find a sweet spot between reducing phantom detection and detecting actual obstacles. In the meantime, we are hoping the Falcon Wing doors don’t make another victim after BMW CEO Harald Kruger’s head.
In a comment to Electrek, a Tesla spokesperson said that the update aimed at “reducing false detection of obstacles” and didn’t mention plans to update again to reduce pinching risk.
Here’s the other video with the pressure sensors: