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Falcon Wings open from key fob signal while driving

Discussion in 'Model X: User Interface' started by Mark Bowles, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. Mark Bowles

    Mark Bowles Member

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    First, I want to say that the local Tesla Service guy, Lee Woolley, has been great. But I bought a fully loaded X and took delivery 3 weeks ago and destroyed the drivers side falcon wing door because of an errant signal from the key fob in my pocket while I was exiting my garage for the very first time on the second day. 3 weeks later I still don't know when I will get the car back or how much it will cost.

    I want to make my case, however, for why this was not all my fault. It would be great if the UI/UX folks at Tesla would consider the case I will make below. I have some experience in developing complex user experience / user interfaces myself and have been inspired Tesla's approach. Its a design model for others. In fact, Tesla's are so intuitive, that I assumed consciously and sub-consciously that the experience I had built up over the last 2+ years on my Tesla S would transfer to the Tesla X. It didn't work out that way and I ended up destroying my new X within 24 hours of taking delivery. So, here is my UI/UX story for consideration:

    How it happened - The Short Version
    On the second day of owning my Tesla X, I was attempting to pull it out of my garage for the first time ever. I entered my Tesla X through the driver's door, sat down and closed the door, pulled the car into drive and began to roll forward. As I moved forward about 3-5 feet on to the driveway I heard a crunching of glass. I stopped and backed up a few few feet, got out and saw that the driver's side falcon wing door had attempted to open just as I had tried to roll through the narrow garage door opening. The door had caught the garage door frame and it was broken and bent. Your data logs report that the signal that instructed that door to open at the moment came from the key fob. That key fob was in my front left pocket and can only have been activated inadvertently by somehow being pinched in my pocket as I bent to sit in the driver's seat. The whole incident from beginning to end was just several seconds.

    How it happened - The Detailed Version
    I had had the X for less than 24 hrs. I picked it up and went through the wonderful orientation experience with the Delivery Specialist. I drove it for 100 or so miles and finally brought it home to park it in the garage for the night. The next morning at about 9:30 I was in a hurry as usual and went to the garage, opened the garage door, walked around the X, and the front driver door popped open automatically per my settings. I hopped in, stepped on the break, pulled it into Drive, and started to pull out of the driveway. I think I recall an audible signal warning me of something but it must have sounded very similar to, or just like the seat belt warning that I always get from my Tesla P85 S. It definitely didn't sound different enough or urgent enough to warn me that I was about to destroy my car. I was not looking at the dash or visual warnings (I assume warnings were there) because everything seemed normal in terms of the audio warnings. Besides, I was trying to pull out of the garage so my eyes were focused forward and my ears were hearing what seemed like the normal warnings about the seat belt. As always, I do wear my seat belt but, like many people, I connect it as I am pulling out, not before I drive. I intended to put my seat belt on and was probably also in the act of putting it on but I don't really recall that detail. Anyway, I moved forward in Drive just a couple of feet when I heard the smash of glass and stopped. The driver's side rear falcon wing door had begun to open and had caught the garage door frame and smashed. I was shocked and saddened. Me, an experienced (2+ years Tesla driver) had just destroyed his new X within 24 hours of owning it, and had no idea that he was doing it. According to your data logs I had apparently (and inadvertently) triggered the back door to open via the key fob in my pocket in just the few second that I was attempting to pull out of my garage. My key fob was in my front pant's pocket as always. I did not intend to send that signal and I can only guess that it must have been compressed in my pants pocket against the key ring or something as I bent to sit down in the driver's seat. This is a scenario I could not have imagined. I had just entered the car a few seconds before and all of the doors were closed. I knew I had not attempted to open the back door so why did it open at that moment? The X is a car that is able to sense how to open the falcon wing doors in a variety of ways to avoid hitting anything. This is a car that can avoid objects at high speed on the freeway, change lanes, park itself, etc. This is a car that knows I am at home and in my garage and that space is too tight to even open the open the doors fully. So it would never occur to me that this intelligent car would allow me, through an unintended signal from a key fob in my pocket, to open a falcon wing door, just at the moment I was pulling out of my garage, and ultimately destroy the car. As I said before, there may have been warning signals both audible and visual as I am sure it is designed that way. But whatever audio signal may have been there was not differentiated enough or urgent enough to make a very experienced Tesla user such as myself to even notice that something was more wrong than my seat belt needing to be buckled. If I made this mistake, it will happen to others. Likely many others. Its not clear to me why the algorithms allow the X to move while the falcon wing doors are open or in the process of opening. Or why a signal from the key fob is allowed to control the doors while the driver is in the driver's seat in the act of controlling the car via the driver's controls, breaks, steering wheel, and gear shift. Perhaps there is a lot of well considered reasons why this scenario is allowed by the software. But from my vantage point, the down side to allowing the X to move forward while the doors are in the act of opening can be immense. My specific scenario here should be considered by the UI/UX folks and put on the scale as a potential argument not to allow that scenario to occur. At least while the car is at home in a garage and beginning to drive out. With the Tesla S key fob I think its is very difficult to compress it in your pocket inadvertently to invoke any action. Its never happened to me. With the Tesla X fob, its now clear that its not only possible, but the scenario just occurred where it lead to tremendous damage to the car. Its a liability that I think should be reconsidered, not just in my case but for all other users as the scenario can cause tremendous damage.

    I am quite sure Tesla gets a lot of people claiming to be your biggest fan. I am one of those people. And I will continue to be a fan regardless of how this situation turns out. My appeal here is as much to help you improve the UI/UX and safety for everyone as it is to make the case that I don't think this is reasonably my fault or should be my financial cost to fix the car. I would also like to request a loaner car while mine is being fixed. I was using the product and the UI/UX as I have done with great success over the past 2+ years on my model S. My scenario above may be a usability corner case but I can predict with some confidence that its a fairly big corner case, its an expensive corner case, and that this scenrio will happen again to others without some revisiting of how the algorithms govern the car in the scenario that I have described above.

    Please consider my case and feel free to contact me with more questions, etc. And please let me know of your decision as soon as possible as I REALLY want to get my X fixed and start enjoying it!!!
     
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  2. K-MTG

    K-MTG Sunshade Captain of TMC

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    Welcome to the forum, unfortunate first post. Hopefully Tesla will do the right thing and fix the car without a charge. Can you please post any pictures?
     
  3. DrComputer

    DrComputer Member

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    Maybe this is the reason that 2.15.50 was pushed out this morning. Like usual, there were not specifics in the notes.
     
  4. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    Wow. I do this all the time. The fob is always in my front pocket.

    So to net it out you think you opened the FWD when you sat down and did not notice it? It also sounds like you backed the car in and drove out forward so you would not be looking in mirrors noticing the FWD was open?
     
  5. Mark Bowles

    Mark Bowles Member

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    Yes, I was backed into the garage and was rolling out slowly looking forward. I had just walked past the falcon wing door that was closed so could not imagine that a few seconds later it would be opening as I exited. BTW, Tesla confirmed that the signal to open the damaged door came from the key fob.
     
  6. Camera-Cruiser

    Camera-Cruiser Fully Charged

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    Sad, but a good warning. As I often have the fob in my front pocket too, and often get a beep of a chime as I enter my S. I know its the FOB and me, but I have never paid attention to what I might be activating, since nothing like doors, hood, or frunk has done anything. In essence, I have become oblivious to the tone. Now I know that I shouldn't, and lose 10, I mean 20 pounds.

    Oooo, and 100th post!
     
  7. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    Did you have the FOB in it's leather pouch or just loose in your pocket? I always have it in it's pouch unless I am using it.
     
  8. Mark Bowles

    Mark Bowles Member

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    Leather pouch?
     
  9. TSLA Pilot

    TSLA Pilot Member

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    Looks like Tesla may have dropped the ball here. FWD opening simply must/cannot be combined or allowed with vehicle movement.

    I would hope Tesla is offering you a new, replacement MX so that yours can be repaired and used as a Service Loaner?
     
    • Like x 1
  10. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    #10 Skotty, Apr 4, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
    The leather pouch is a firm leather holder with a key ring that the fob fits into. A lot of times they give you one with the car. I would guess it's just a throw in extra that some locations do, so maybe not everyone gets one.

    The accidentally pushing buttons in pocket is an ongoing problem with all key fobs in all cars of all makes. No one has come up with a good solution for it yet. This results in situations like the car getting unlocked, or coming out and finding all of your windows down, or in this case, a door opening. A firm fob holder helps solve the problem, but it's incredibly annoying having to constantly take the fob in and out of a holder, so I don't think that's a good solution. I'd like to see something like a biometric lock, where it locks after a brief period of no use, and has to be unlocked with a finger print; kind of like how you can set up the new iPhones to unlock with a finger print on the home button. It wouldn't necessarily need to authenticate exactly who the user is, so long as it verifies a finger activated it. Yes, you then wouldn't be able to use it with gloves on, and it would cost more, but IMO it would be worth it to eliminate the "butt dialing" of key fobs. If that uses too much energy or can't be done for other reasons, come up with something else -- anything else -- to help solve this problem. Especially if key fobs start being able to do things like controlling summon.

    It would be worth taking a closer look at the X to see if it has any more serious problems relating to the door opening. Basically, the fob probably shouldn't work when the car is running (at the very least, the door buttons shouldn't work). Also, if the door is opened, it should indicate this on the dash. Furthermore, it should get noticeably more upset at you if you start driving with a door ajar. Both of these could be easily tested by any X owner.
     
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  11. vandacca

    vandacca Active Member

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    I really feel for you Mark Bowles and I believe that this was an innocent and understandable blunder. Hopefully, you're misfortune will be a lesson to me and everyone else in this forum so that the same won't happen again.

    I also agree that this is a potential UI/UX issue, not only with Tesla, but with any FOB controlled vehicle. Unfortunately, I don't see any possible solution without greatly affecting many other use-cases. Any fix for this one scenario will cause delays (in opening/closing) or reduce functionality for many other scenarios. A fix for this 1% issue would hinder operations for the remaining 99%.

    I sincerely hope Tesla (out of the goodness of their hearts) repairs this for you at no charge and uses this incident to educate their customer-base. When I receive my FOB, I may keep it dangling from my jean belt loop or take it out of my pocket before entering the vehicle.

    Maybe it's time that someone develop a line of shirts with an elastomer breast and/or sleeve pocket big enough to fit a FOB. Anyone want to start a Kickstarter project?
     
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  12. Mark Bowles

    Mark Bowles Member

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    Thanks. No loaner yet. No date yet. No word yet if Tesla will pay the repair or if it's my cost to fix. They did tell me last week that they were trying to get a full door replacement right off of the assembly line. 3 weeks today since they had to haul it out of my driveway on a truck. I'd really like to get it fixed and start driving it.
     
  13. Mark Bowles

    Mark Bowles Member

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    Thanks. Maybe recessed buttons on the fob would help, especially for the Falcon wing doors because they are so vulnerable. Or perhaps don't allow the car to roll forward, period, unless the falcon wing doors are latched. What's the real world need for moving forward while the falcon wing doors are open other than onstage at the product launch? Another easy fix might be to simply disable the key fob signals when the car is being operated from the drivers seat. However, I'm not sure if the signal from the key fob was sent just before I pressed the brake and pulled it into gear, or just after. It all happened within a few seconds. The door may have been on its way up, or it could have opened the realized I was beginning to operate the car and tried to close the falcon wing and it could have been on its way down. Again, it happened in just a few seconds. But I think the car shouldn't be allowed to move without those falcon wing doors latched. Seems dangerous to do otherwise.
     
  14. dyoreo

    dyoreo Member

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    Wow, You would think software would prevent the door from opening when the vehicle is not in Park.

    I hope there is a firmware update coming.
     
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  15. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    I agree some sort of claxon horn noise if you try to move the car with the doors open or ajar.
     
  16. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    Someone with an X test it and see how it behaves.

    Just the other day I thought my S didn't have a warning about driving off without the key, but then I tested it, and sure enough it does.

    Most cars have some sort of chime + visual indicator if door is ajar while in drive. The X should as well. But they might need to make it more attention grabbing. I'll test this in my S later just to see how it behaves as a comparison point.
     
  17. vandacca

    vandacca Active Member

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    I like the idea of a more distinct "door is open" bell, but I wouldn't want driving to be restricted when the doors are not fully latched. If I need to move the vehicle a few inches or feet while doing some work on it, or to pick up the kids in the parking lot, I'd like the ability to drive a very short distant with the doors open. Otherwise, I would have to wait for the doors to fully close, drive a few inches, then wait to have the doors fully open. It would also be nice to start the doors opening while I'm approaching someone to pick them up to save a few seconds (e.g. in the rain). Of course I would take full liability and only do it with knowledge that I wouldn't be hitting anything.

    I do like the idea of indentations in the FOB to prevent accidental clicking, but I don't think that's fool-proof.

    However, there may be a way to analyze all the intentional FOB usage and compare it to the accidental FOB incident to be able to distinguish the two. Perhaps the FOB can be programmed to tell the difference between the two by analyzing the speed, delay between clicks or pressure differences between each click.
     
  18. commasign

    commasign Active Member

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    This isn't much different than accidentally opening the trunk while driving (just guessing, haven't ever done or tried this). If the same set of circumstances applies to the trunk of the tesla or any other car, I don't think it's fair to blame the falcon wing door anymore than if it was the trunk that opened and crashed. With that said, it would be a relatively easy software fix to introduce some common sense logic to all of the powered doors.
     
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  19. Jasper7821

    Jasper7821 New Member

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    Or if opened before shifting into park, it would not let the car move unless you did a confirm sequence knowing the door is open and you still need to move forward/reverse.
     
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  20. nh-srt8

    nh-srt8 Member

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    The key fob for my S often seems to get pressed when I'm exiting/entering when it is in my left front pocket of my jeans. I think it presses against the side bolster. It does give a chime and flashes the turn signals when this occurs as I believe it is the lock button on the top that is being pressed. With the key being bigger I would think the chances for error would be greater. I found it too easy to leave accidentally leave it behind in the vehicle so I started putting it in my pocket. I've made a mental note to change this practice as I should get the X later this month. Again sorry you had to go through this.
     
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