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Thread: Shifts to Park when Butt Lifted from Seat?

  1. #1
    Senior Member mknox's Avatar
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    Shifts to Park when Butt Lifted from Seat?

    Saw a video review of Model S and the reviewer stated (and demonstrated) that when he was backing up and twisted around to look over his shoulder, his position in the seat changed and the car jerked to a stop. (About 4:50 mark here).

    This does not seem like a very safe thing for the car to do, and I'm wondering if it was some sort of defect on the test vehicle. It seems to me that if the car is in Drive or Reverse, and is moving, the seat sensor should be disabled. A normal ICE will not throw itself into Park like that. I sometimes adjust my seating position by pressing my arms down on the armrests and sliding my butt into a more comfortable position, and I certainly wouldn't want the car suddenly jerking to a stop on the freeway.

    Wondering if any current Model S owners have seen this behavior?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by mknox View Post
    Saw a video review of Model S and the reviewer stated (and demonstrated) that when he was backing up and twisted around to look over his shoulder, his position in the seat changed and the car jerked to a stop. (About 4:50 mark here).

    This does not seem like a very safe thing for the car to do, and I'm wondering if it was some sort of defect on the test vehicle. It seems to me that if the car is in Drive or Reverse, and is moving, the seat sensor should be disabled. A normal ICE will not throw itself into Park like that. I sometimes adjust my seating position by pressing my arms down on the armrests and sliding my butt into a more comfortable position, and I certainly wouldn't want the car suddenly jerking to a stop on the freeway.

    Wondering if any current Model S owners have seen this behavior?
    I'd be interested to know as well. Perhaps it's speed-dependent. i.e. it won't shut off if you're going over X MPH?

  3. #3
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    Agreed, I would love to see details about this.
    That said, in 7 weeks of driving neither my wife nor I have experienced this. I would suspect that normally this is disabled at a certain speed and/or the 'test' shown was staged.

  4. #4
    R1211 & S282 NigelM's Avatar
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    IMO this is a great safety feature!

    As for the video, the back of the car is high and the rear window doesn't have great visibility so why didn't the reviewer just use the back camera? He could easily have backed over his neighbors cat otherwise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NigelM View Post
    IMO this is a great safety feature!
    This behavior sounds dangerous for anything other than a stopped car. Having the seat detection glitch at highway speed, say because I lifted myself up a bit with the armrest to reset the angle of my aching back, would be catastrophically dangerous.

    I also lift up somewhat to look out the rear window. One, it'll be habit since I've never had a backup camera. Two, the camera would only ever be a data point I keep in mind, I trust my own eyes. I also don't purely trust the mirrors when changing lanes, I always physically glance.

  6. #6
    R1211 & S282 NigelM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckessel View Post
    This behavior sounds dangerous for anything other than a stopped car. Having the seat detection glitch at highway speed, say because I lifted myself up a bit with the armrest to reset the angle of my aching back, would be catastrophically dangerous.
    Not sure how you keep your foot on the accelerator and cover the brake, keeping both hands on the wheel while lifting yourself completely off the seat at highway speed. That sounds pretty dangerous to me also.

    Quote Originally Posted by ckessel View Post
    I also lift up somewhat to look out the rear window. One, it'll be habit since I've never had a backup camera. Two, the camera would only ever be a data point I keep in mind, I trust my own eyes.
    Unless you're a lizard you can't look forwards and backwards at the same time. With Model S (like many other cars) it's impossible to see what's on the ground behind the car if you don't use the camera. With a car as quiet as Model S you really want to watch the camera to avoid small children and animals.

    Quote Originally Posted by ckessel View Post
    I also don't purely trust the mirrors when changing lanes, I always physically glance.
    Agree 100%. I do the same thing.

  7. #7
    Honestly, I don't drive with both hands on the wheel, and there are indeed times when you may need to lift. For example, if I'm in a car that doesn't have my EZ Pass, I lift (while driving) to get my wallet so that I can be more prepared once I hit the booth. I've also had to lean back and grab something from the back pouch of the passenger seat while driving (which won't be a problem in the S, since it doesn't have one). Sure, the argument could be made that these aren't "safe" things to do while driving, but you can't deny that having the car shift into park while doing those things (if that's what happens) isn't a whole lot worse.

    I also check mirrors and physically look (we even have blind spot detection, but I don't fully trust that), but I also don't 100% trust my backup cameras either. The Model S may indeed end up being harder to see out of, but I don't think the "look back" habit will die easily. Heck, during my driving test I got dinged for backing up while watching the mirror. I passed, but that's always stuck with me.

  8. #8
    Senior Member mknox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnOutsider View Post
    Honestly, I don't drive with both hands on the wheel, and there are indeed times when you may need to lift. For example, if I'm in a car that doesn't have my EZ Pass, I lift (while driving) to get my wallet so that I can be more prepared once I hit the booth. I've also had to lean back and grab something from the back pouch of the passenger seat while driving (which won't be a problem in the S, since it doesn't have one). Sure, the argument could be made that these aren't "safe" things to do while driving, but you can't deny that having the car shift into park while doing those things (if that's what happens) isn't a whole lot worse.
    I think we all do those kinds of things, but just knowing that the car could slam itself into Park while underway is disconcerting to me. In addition to the above, you could spill coffee and zap the sensor, or it could fail for any number of reasons (I've had seat belt seat sensors fail) and cause this behavior. It seems almost unbelieveable that the car would do this, and that's why I wondered if it was a defect on the reviewer's test car.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NigelM View Post
    Not sure how you keep your foot on the accelerator and cover the brake, keeping both hands on the wheel while lifting yourself completely off the seat at highway speed. That sounds pretty dangerous to me also.
    That's purely being argumentative for the sake of being contrary.

    AnOutsider handles the response with more grace than I would have, so I'll just say +1 for his answer.

  10. #10
    Sig Perf #236 VIN #484
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    I think that this is an absolute must on the car - There is no sensation difference between "D" and "P". In my first test drive of a Tesla Roadster, the previous driver left the car in Drive. When I entered the car, I almost put it over a curb (caught it just before). I think that the danger of the car being left is Drive is more likely than sensor failure.

    In the weeks I have had the car, I have never had a problem with it unexpectedly shifting into park under normal use. I would also expect that Tesla would not let this happen at speed; just like it will likely not let you accidentally put it into Reverse when you are moving at speed, if you accidently hit the gear shift.

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