A software update to Tesla’s Model X that was meant to address issues with the “falcon wing” doors may have inadvertently led to safety issues.
The update was meant to adjust sensors that detect whether an object is keeping a door from closing. Owners are now concerned that the doors could cause injury after the update.
A product review posted on YouTube this week showed the doors slicing a cucumber in two, and a second review by the same company, MEtv Product Reviews, showed a larger cucumber being cut in half in a pinch zone between the car’s roof and the falcon wing door.
Tesla responded with an email to Automotive News saying that the software update was meant to “to improve closure consistency and reduce false detection of obstacles,” but the company declined to comment directly on any concerns related to potential injuries.
Model X owners have complained about the doors for some time, with one gripe being that the doors often opened or closed by themselves. The update was also meant to address that issue, according to Teslarati, one web site that covers Tesla.
According to the MEtv videos, the update disabled sensors in the doors that prevent the doors from closing when obstacles are detected.
Another common complaint about the doors is that they sometimes stopped working because they detected an object that wasn’t there.
Even Tesla CEO Elon Musk has acknowledge the problems.
“In particular, the software that controls the Model X and the operation of the doors has been incredibly difficult to refine, and getting the complex set of sensors to work well has been difficult to refine. I think we’re almost there in making the doors useful,” he told shareholders earlier this year.
Tesla fired and sued the original supplier of the doors, Hoerbiger Automotive Comfort Systems, in January, blaming it for delays due to lack of quality.
A few owners have filed complaints in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration database, and Automotive News profiled one of those complaints, in which an owner let the door close on his arm to demonstrate the problem.
No injuries have been reported to date, and at that same shareholder’s meeting in May, Musk promised to fix the issue. Teslarati reports that this is the second door-software update this month.
“Digging ourselves out of the hole has been quite hard,” Musk said. “But I think with the software release that’s going out shortly and another one that’s going out in maybe a month or so, I think finally we’ll be at the point where the doors are better than normal doors.”