This Is What Happens When A Tesla Model X Falcon Door Bumps An Object When Opening – Video


This video, posted to YouTube over the weekend, shows what happens when a Tesla Model X falcon door bumps into an object while opening.

From the video, you’ll see that the door simply stops when it hits an object.

This is not what we expected to see.

First off, we had assumed the sensors would detect the object and stop the door prior to contact. Secondly, it seems the door doesn’t retract upon hitting he object, but rather it stays in contact with what has been struck by the door.

This operation is exactly the opposite of what we had expected to see. Door hits object, which shouldn’t happen. Then it stays in contact with object, which doesn’t seem right either.

Are you surprised by the operation of the Falcon Door as seen in this video?

Model X Falcon Door Bumps Person

Model X Falcon Door Bumps Person

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51 Comments on "This Is What Happens When A Tesla Model X Falcon Door Bumps An Object When Opening – Video"

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The important thing is what happens when a digit manages to slip in before it shuts. What happens then? Find some small twigs.

Go outside and close your car door with your finger in the door-jam. Thats what will happen… Nothing is a perfect everything is 100% at all times in the world, you still need to use caution when dealing things.


Our Town & Country minivan had power sliding rear doors. You wouldn’t want to get your finger caught in there when they close, and nobody ever did in the years we owned the vehicle.

Falcon wing doors don’t offer a substantiall different hazard, merely because they open upward instead of rearward. And as far as I can see, the hazard of getting a finger or hand stuck in there when it closes is no greater.

I think some people are just looking for something to worry about.

What happens?

Tesla gets very few orders even from people who reserved the car. Thats what seems to be the most visible cause of these weird doors.

That’s not what I’m seeing with Tesla friends in MN… many of them waited cautiously to see the X in person but doing so alleviated all of their concerns and they quickly confirmed their orders.

During one of the recent “Meet Model X” events, we were shown that there are touch sensors in the rubber edge surrounding the door that can be used to stop the motion. Now I wished I’d paid closer attention, but maybe part of their function is to avoid pinching fingers.

I was expecting the door to open fast and send that guy flying.

But I guess this is acceptable for safety reasons.

Based on the unexpected detection of an object against the door, this is the correct behavior. Retracting automatically could lead to more damage or harm. Best to stop and wait for a human to decide the best solution.


We have been told for months (years?) that the doors would stop before contact was made.

I have seen video of the falcon door operation that when faced with a “solid” object the door stopped prior to contact then either adjusted it’s arc to clear it and proceeded to open, or simply opened as far as it could if the object was too close. The key word here being “SOLID” object.

I think humans still count as “solid” objects…

I still think those doors will be the bane of the Model x’s existence. I hope not, but I can see all kinds of issues (leaks, misalignment, motor failure) once these cars are a few years old. Let’s hope that’s not the case.

I think the torsion springs in the falcon-wing doors will wear out over time.

Does anyone know if Tesla stated how many open/close cycles the torsion springs are expected to last?

There is ‘saying go big or go home,’ Tesla certainly did that with the FWD.
I know someone, perhaps someones who will love the falcon wing doors.
The Falconers:

…oh, Donald

It’s the classical “solution looking for a problem” where there isn’t a known problem.
If the motivator was easier entry/exit from the car than standard sedans provide, there are the standard solutions for this used on MPVs and minivans, none of which AFAIK are considered especially problematic: Suicide doors, one or more sliding door(s).
Why add risk to an EV by trying something completely new? Standard gull-wing doors are (1) Known to cause more issues (2) A lot simpler, not needing all those sensors.

Here you have additional sensors, springs, multiple hinges & seals… This is bound to be very expensive to repair down the line.

How is it if somone puts a finger in the gap while closing? Does it squize hard? Dos it stay in place?

That would’ve caused a ding or scratch if it was a solid object like a pole or fire hydrant, instead of a paunchy bald guy.

The door reacts differently with actual solid objects (like metal and glass in vehicle doors). It will avoid those. But not bags of mostly water, who should know well enough not to be in its way…

Stopping and waiting for human input, after light contact, seems entirely appropriate to me.

With regards to actual solid objects, the sensors in the Model S didn’t stop the car for actual solid walls when Bjorn Nyland tested the Automatic Braking feature. The Model S smashed right through them. I’m not sure I’m buying your “actual solid object” vs. “bags of mostly water” argument with regards to the sensors in the falcon-wing doors.

Seriously, you’re calling the thin sheet of light styrofoam seen in that video a “solid wall”?!?!

No, it’s not solid at all. It’s mostly air. If I understand the physics involved correctly, that’s exactly the problem: The radar beam goes right thru the styrofoam, instead of bouncing off it as it would if it were a solid wall.

I hope everyone sees that the Falcon Wing Doors are best regarded as robotics, and not a door. As with robotics in the 80’s, most of the hard work was in the artificial intelligence.
Look at the video a second time. The guy moved as the doors opened. That’s a complex scenario: a moving object and a tilting sensor.
As with all Tesla inventions, this will improve over time (and software updates).

The first step in AI is environmental awareness. The second step is self-awareness.

Look at the video a third time. The guy did not move as the doors opened. He stood still.

Very few “if any” people can stand “perfectly still” meaning ZERO movement of any kind relative to “Fixed” objects around them. At the MX launch event the doors DO stop prior to contact with “FIXED” objects and either readjust the opening arc to clear it or simply open as far as it can. This was done when a MX was parked between two other vehicles.

Oh please. I might have been born, but it wasn’t yesterday. If you’re trying to tell me that the door sensors didn’t see the guy standing there because he moved ever so slightly, unlike the “ZERO movement” of a solid object, I’d have to say that’s bullsh!t. The Model X door sensors are used by the autopilot system and auto-parking systems and are able to detect moving objects, which move at slow to fast speeds, yet these same sensors can’t detect a man standing as still as a statue? I’m not buying it. The door sensors on the Model X are known to malfunction and detect ghost objects which are not there, preventing the falcon-wing doors from opening. Some owners say these false positives are caused by the doors/sensors getting hot from sitting in the sun. Once the door sensors cool down they no longer see ghost objects which are not there and allow the doors to open. So if the door sensors malfunction and see ghost objects that are not there, it’s not a big leap to believe that the door sensors can malfunction and fail to detect real objects, including humans, that are actually there. Here is a… Read more »

No, not trying to tell you or anyone anything. It’s purely speculation. I do know from videos at the launch event that the doors stopped readjusted their arc and proceeded to open in so far as they could relative to parked cars on either side of the X.

If you want to get an idea of how much you actually move when you think you’re not– try playing a theremin. It will give you a new insight into subtle body dynamics…

That’s the point. The doors aren’t supposed to strike objects. If that person was a pillar or a post, you wouldn’t expect those objects to move, and it would make a mess of that paint job. This is a failure of situational awareness by the car.

I think the important question is why the sensor didn’t detect the guy standing there. And no, contrary to what Vexar posted, he wasn’t moving.

My guess is the sensors work well at detecting objects with hard reflective surfaces, like metal and concrete, but apparently not so well with soft objects like clothing or human flesh.

+1 (sorry, I was tipping at the same of you, apparently, but as English it’s not my first language it taked far more time to me to complete my sentence.)

I have seen other videos with doors detecting other cars in parking lots or walls in garages, and stopping before hitting them. So, maybe, the sensors are doing very well for the functions they have been design to (avoiding other cars in tide parking lot or avoiding walls or very low garage ceiling) but its poor in detecting fat guys?! So very sensitive to metals and stuff like walls, pillars and posts but not organic matter. It would be interesting to do the same experiment next to a tree…if someone would want to take such risk!

I’m going to hazard a guess that getting that behavior out of the door (“striking” the man) probably took a few tries and standing carefully in just the right spot. Just more FUD.

AlanSqB said: “Just more FUD.” Oh good grief! You’re suggesting that the above video was staged? Do you have any other goofball conspiracy theories that you’d like to share with us? Let me guess. The moon landing faked, and Neil Armstrong really just took one small step on a Hollywood sound stage. So you’re telling me some guy who put down a big bucks deposit on a Tesla Model X and got invited to a Model X viewing party, wanted to spread FUD about Tesla and somehow knew ahead of time that the falcon-winged doors when opened would hit a person standing in “just the right spot”? You’re saying that this person opened and closed the falcon-winged doors several times in an unsuccessful effort to get the FW doors to hit him until he found the “just the right spot” to stand and was successfully hit by the doors? And all this happened during a Model X viewing party, where the Model X was the center of attention and everyone was looking at the Model X, checking it out, and trying to get hands on time with the Model X. Why on earth would someone who put down a deposit… Read more »

Disagree. Stopping when encountering resistance is the right answer. Otherwise you risk making the situation worse, either because of actuator failure or (as stated above), because someone gets their hand in the door in the meantime.

Well I’ve seen the doors open and stop BEFORE hitting stuff, too. Including the roof or garage door. You can hardly look at one video and say “ohhh it must always be this way”

Maybe this Model X is just more affectionate.

I think stopping at time of impact is the best option. What if someone was about to get out, and as they are about to step out, the door bumps something and starts closing and crashes onto the head of the person who thought the door was almost completely open?

That in my opinion is the best way for those doors to work. If the Model X is involved in an accident and there is little space to fully open the falcon doors, itโ€™s reassuring to know they will at least open and not trap rear seat occupant.


I am kind of reminded of the concept of driverless automobiles. Undoubtedly, there will be a failure of technology and there will be crashes. But the amount will be a FRACTION of the human caused crashes of today. I have grandchildren, and before that I had children. They open car doors…and so do a lot of morbidly obese people who drive around with handicapped stickers permanently hanging on the rear view mirror. I have watched these people on their motorized carts once I get inside the store. We have a lot of elderly folks in Florida who are notorious for causing crashes when they make left hand turns, because of the failure of depth perception in later years. I could go on… It is RIDICULOUS that people are hypersensitive to a Model X door that actually stopped when coming in contact with an object. Reading the list above, I would say that the Model X probably does a much better job of opening doors than a WHOLE lot of human beings who smash and dent on a routine basis. While I am reminded of why we often park away from other vehicles to avoid such dings and scrapes, it also… Read more »

I once saw a Corvette parked to as to occupy no less than six stalls, sideways in two back-to-back rows of parking spaces, in a mall.

I was tempted to let the driving know how little I appreciated that by taking my car keys and scratching his paint as I walked by… but I didn’t.

Those who want to protect their precious cars from any possibility of “dings” should park “out in the boonies”, well away from where most people park, and bring a couple of orange construction cones in their trunk to place on either side of their car.

I saw something similar at a grocery store a few years back, at least the jerk had the decency to park in his six spots at the bottom of a hill.

Too bad shopping carts have a habit of rolling down hills.

Just for that I’m gonna take my keys and scratch the next Tesla I see. I’m gonna scratch it real good. Too bad nobody’s dumb enough to buy a Tesla in the Midwest.

My guess is that the car expects humans go come close to the door, touch the door handle, and then get Out Of the WAY of the door opening.

So it isn’t going to stop and re-close just because there is a person there. It expects a person to be there. That’s what doors do, they let people in who are waiting for the door to open.

Unless/until somebody shows a video of it actually opening into a solid object, I’ll say something is wrong with the doors. But if you open a door, I would expect you to be standing by that door, and that the door wouldn’t pre-emptively decide it won’t open for you because you are there.

I agree with others.
The door stopping was the correct solution after it hit the guy.

Not sure what I think about the door hitting the guy in the first place.

I’ve always been an anti falcon wing door person

All I really care about is that the doors don’t lead to financial problems that sink Tesla. They were a major risk, and unnecessary. But with Musk you live and die by the horns

Unfortunately the falcon wing doors may become an albatross for the model X.

Albatross-wing doors! ๐Ÿ˜€

Gotta give some props for that one.

“Where Alf, the sacred river ran, through caverns measureless to man and down to a sunless sea.” STC

All of my vehicles that had powered doors and hatches always closed/reversed direction when they came in contact with something – including minivan sliding doors and rear hatches for at least three different SUVs. I’m surprised the Model X doesn’t seem to follow the “industry standard”.

I avoided the panoramic roof on the model S because of reports that owners were experiencing problems with seal leakage and warped glass panels… and well..I’m just not interested in a sunroof @ $1500 anyway… but these gull wing doors seem like a very trouble prone item..and they can’t be avoided if a model X purchaser wants a model X… best thing to do is get a 36 month lease and see how it goes before buying something as cutting edge as this appears to be..

Ev’s are just not practical. The model S is a second or third car for rich people. It’s a status symbol or a toy more than anything. The infrastructure just isn’t there and never will be.