Front Curb detector needed

Front Curb detector needed

Given the Model 3 low front end, I am concerned about hitting a curb when entering a parking slot. This could be a very expensive bump. Best I can do is use my best judgment for when to stop and hope that is good enough. In my perfect Tesla world, there would be a sensor notifying me when it's time to stop before that beautiful front end hits a barrier.

Unrelated topic, but the latest software update with regen braking taking the car to a full stop, then engaging Hold, is a wonderful improvement. How I wish my Model X had this feature!

lilbean | 14 december 2019

Did the update not apply to the X regarding the hold feature?

gparrot | 14 december 2019

FWIW: I’ve tested this numerous times and it appears all the time: when coming to red light, if there’s someone else in front of me, I can creep up to his bumper (slowly, of course) and once within 1m, I can see a distance countdown in front of the car’s avatar. I’ve gotten mighty good at stopping within 50cm without a bump to the bumpers.
This being said, I’m not sure how low the ultrasound guns point, so it may not work with a curb.

jordanrichard | 14 december 2019

For pulling up to a curb do the following. Pull up to a curb to where you feel comfortable. Get out, check the distance and pull up a bit further until you are about 6 inches from the curb. Sitting in the driver’s seat, see where/how the driver’s side mirror lines up with the curb. From that point forward, use that as your reference.

For me in my MS, when I see the curb appear under the mirror “arm”, I stop.

rehutton777 | 14 december 2019

Jackcolo: I have the same "wish". I recently pulled up to a curb which was higher on the left side than in the middle and right, and ran the lower left bumper onto the curb. I left a nice "rash" where it ran up on the curb. It's difficult to see (you can easily see it if you bend down to look at the "underneath" edge on the left side), so as of yet I have not bothered to get it fixed. None of my friends have seen it, so I'm not inclined to want to make an issue of it. It would have been nice if the sensors had warned that the car was going to scrape the curb.

rehutton777 | 14 december 2019

Jordanrichard - - I may try your trick to see if I can avoid this in the future.

M3phan | 14 december 2019

The distance to curb is shown by a front end warning “eyebrow” with diminishing distance in inches. Also chimes. Your car doesn’t do this?

rehutton777 | 14 december 2019

M3phan: Not that I've noticed, but I will definitely look for this next time I approach a curb. I routinely run my "nose" over the curb (normally there is plenty of clearance), and I don't recall any visual or audible warning unless there is a wall. But - - I'm not going to say that it doesn't happen, I just may not have paid attention to it? I'll definitely look.

M3phan | 14 december 2019

Check it out and let us know. Make sure your warning chimes are on. Front end visual warning works for me for walls, curbs, cars in front of me.

jackcolo | 14 december 2019

lilbean - no, my X updates do not parallel those of my Model 3. Pity, as the retardation to full stop, followed by Hold, would be sweet on the X. I sure hope Tesla applies this to the big, expensive X.

rehutton777 | 14 december 2019

M3phan: Mine works well for walls and cars in front also - - just haven't noticed it for curbs. But I will check and reply with my observations.

jordanrichard | 15 december 2019

I highly recommend that people not get dependent on what the parking sensors, well, sense. They are not designed to sense objects as low as a curb. Also in the winters with snow/ice build up, they can set off erroneous warnings.

Rehutton777, my method will obviously be faster if you have someone helping you buy telling you when to stop, then you can see how the curb appears in relation to your mirror.

Now, at some point you will pull into a spot that has a car in the anointing spot and the curb may not be as visible. In that instance, just judge based on that car’s size and line your mirror up with theirs.

Since we are on the subject of curbs. When backing up, keep going until you see the edge of the curb in the camera, visually “touch” the edge of your bumper then stop. You will be at least 6 inches away.

WW_spb | 15 december 2019

Are people regressing? I can't drive safely without BSI, I can't park without 360 cam, I can't cancel autopilot without going to neutral, I can't back up without Rear cross traffic alert, I can't I can't I can't. Wow just wow. What's wrong with ya?

howard | 15 december 2019

On my previous EV (2017 Bolt) if you momentarily put it in reverse while pulling in to the parking space a 360 degree down view mode popped up on the display. A very very nice feature missing on Teslas.

WW_spb | 15 december 2019

And apparently some can't even read plain text from manual.

Sarah R | 15 december 2019

@Jordanrichard I put a line of duct tape across my garage floor just about 4 inches inside the door. When I can see that line in the rear view camera I know that I can safely close the door.

howard | 15 december 2019

WW_spb, When I need my old school fix I drive the 64 Ghia.

FISHEV | 15 december 2019

"The distance to curb is shown by a front end warning “eyebrow” with diminishing distance in inches. Also chimes."

But it often doesn't see the curb and will still show some distance as the Model 3's lower lip scrapes the curb. Need the front sensors for this mounted or calibrated so they see the curbs and give accurate info.

Curbing the front of the car is a common problem due to the discrepancy between the cars lower front facia and sensors.

WW_spb | 15 december 2019

Howard you smell like Fish

gparrot | 15 december 2019

Howard, FISHEV, I agree, and it’s how I ended my last post.

Sarah R | 15 december 2019

While it is true that simple "learn how to park your car" tricks like visual references, if the car is truly going to drive itself, park itself, be a self-driving machine without a steering wheel or pedals, then it must be able to do these things. It follows, then that since the sensor suite is not yet capable, then some solution must be found.

Personally, I think the answer is in the cameras. Just as visual cues help us, they will (eventually) enable the AI to do these tasks. I wonder if the AI is capable of handling the concept of the hidden object ...

Sarah R | 15 december 2019

I really need to proof before hitting send. I edited a sentence and deleted half of it. That first sentence should read:

While it is true that simple "learn how to park your car" tricks like visual references work well for humans,

andy | 15 december 2019

This is why I always reverse into spaces. The mirrors dip so you have half a chance of being able to see down the side of the car and the rear camera and sensors work well in showing you where you are.

I badly miss the 360 view of the Leaf, but we can’t have the same in the Model 3 due to camera positioning.

rehutton777 | 15 december 2019

So I tested the car this evening. I pulled up to a curb with a stucco pillar located beyond the curb on the right front. I stopped the car when it said "24 inches". It apparently was giving me distance to the pillar, because when I got out of the car, the nose was about 8 in. over the curb. In this case I got no visual or audible warning of the curb. Hmmm...?

andy | 16 december 2019

The front skirt is quite low and forward, which is a hassle over speed bumps too.

It’s suddenly occurred that the sudden growth in sales of compact SUVs may be, in large part, be due to councils placing speed bumps all over the place.

FISHEV | 16 december 2019

"Personally, I think the answer is in the cameras. "

Close proximity is usually handled with ultrasound. Cheaper and no need for the kind of interpretative signal processing for the camera's view.

The 360 cams would help driver to see it but plain proximity alerts are all that is needed.

andy.connor.e | 16 december 2019

Didnt read the whole thread.

But i dont think the M3 clearance is any lower than other full size sedans. I frequently scrape the very bottom of the front of my plastic on curb edges when parking, so to avoid that i just reverse into every parking spot with backup cam.

M3phan | 16 december 2019

@ rehutton777 , I suppose varying curb heights trigger or don’t trigger. Perhaps the car focused on the column over the curb?

Magic 8 Ball | 16 december 2019

"This is why I always reverse into spaces."


shammy81013 | 16 december 2019

just don't go all the way to the curb or back into the spot!

jordanrichard | 16 december 2019

Sarah R, nice trick with the tape. I pull into my garage until my front sensors tell me that I am at least 22 inches from the stuff on the front wall. With that said, I also can verify my position by looking left and lining myself with a particular spot on a Porsche poster I have on the wall.

I think it is extremely important that people still use fixed visual clue versus electronic. Now I know I suggested a method using the backup camera (electronic), but the "hard fixed" clue is the sight of the curb lining up with one's bumper.

jackcolo | 16 december 2019

So,the votes are in. Many thanks for the constructive comments.
My take away from this is 1. back in when possible, 2. Visual reference of curb and side-view mirror is good alternative.
Thanks Forum!

andy.connor.e | 16 december 2019

thats a good take @jackcolo

donharvey2323 | 16 december 2019
gstory356 | 16 december 2019

Yesterday, we almost bottomed out the front bumper because the avatar distance looked like a generous amount of space left. But there was one of those concrete 'tire stops' about 40 cm from actual sidewalk, and the sensor was only 'seeing' the sidewalk. We narrowly missed a scrape! Backing in would have helped. Like that idea.

For garage: we put a motion activated laser on the ceiling (~CA$30). With M3 in perfect position in garage, it's red dot can be swivelled to hit the silver strip just behind the steering wheel. In R, you can watch the rear camera and have finger poised on P button. The dot flies over steering wheel and when it hits the metal strip (above the wood accent) you press. The camera helps to not drive over items but camera is often obscured by rain. (Apologies for the novelette)

andy | 16 december 2019

Rain and dirt on the rear camera can be a nuisance. I carry a microfibre cloth and use that if needed.

WEST TEX EV | 16 december 2019

@ Sarah R


WEST TEX EV | 16 december 2019

In my personal garage, I placed a 2x4 wood on top of the curb. Better distance readings. Now winter so my plumeria planters are my “sonar reflectors”

rsingh05 | 16 december 2019

@jackcolo I would say 1) Back in whenever possible 2) when you can't backup, stop when the sensor shows 24 inches from the curb. It's not a very long car and it's highly unlikely that your rear end will be sticking out too much. 3) When in doubt, stop sooner rather than later.

Sarah R | 16 december 2019

Ok, so Autopark ...

I had it on my Volt. I tried it once. As soon as that steering wheel stayed to spin I cancelled it. I had no idea what it was aiming at.

But the M3 ... it gives you a schematic view of what it's thinking about attempting. Can I trust it to not collide? Does it work the brake or do I do that? How the hell does it work?

yudansha™ | 16 december 2019

@Sarah R It works perfectly when it finds the spot to park.

FISHEV | 16 december 2019

“I stopped the car when it said "24 inches". It apparently was giving me distance to the pillar, because when I got out of the car, the nose was about 8 in. over the curb.“

I think it told me 18” from the curb at work this morning.

jnordland | 16 december 2019

Why do people feel the need to park so close to the curb??? It's not like this car is a 1970 Cadillac Deville. Even if you're a foot or two from the curb, you're still not likely to stick out very far into the lane. My suggestion? Back in or don't get so close. Problem solved. (side note - radar sensors work perfectly fine detecting the distance to the curb from my experience.)

-TheJohn- | 16 december 2019

Please keep in mind that Fishev is a useless troll here to sow division and spread lies while attempting to besmirch Tesla.
Occasionally they say something that sounds reasonable and even may be reasonable but you're just being set up for the -big lie-.

Enjoy your car unlike them.

andy | 17 december 2019

@jeremynordland the Model 3 is a big car. Fits in a standard UK parking space with 6” clear on each side and around 4” in length to spare.

Parking as tight into a space as possible reduces risk of car park rash from trolleys, bags and other cars. Plus you are supposed to park within the space to avoid “fines”. There are other big cars around, but if you park centrally (or close to Edge if in an end space), and as far back as possible, then it’s difficult for somebody to give you a ticket/invoice.

FISHEV | 17 december 2019

"radar sensors work perfectly fine detecting the distance to the curb from my experience."

Not if the sensors don't see the curb the car will hit and I think most use ultrasonic sensors for the proximity warnings like backup sensors.

Tesla doesn't accurately show the lower front distance to the curb is the problem that needs fixing.

Sarah R | 17 december 2019

Fish says:
Tesla doesn't accurately show the lower front distance to the curb is the problem that needs fixing.

Nobody's car does. Ever. The reason is that in order to detect that 4" wheel stop they'd need to be close to the same 4" off there ground. In other words, they'd need to be under the car.

Don't believe me? Go buy a robotics kit and play with it. Parallax Boe-Bot is pretty cool. So is the Lego Mindstorms. Buy the ultrasonic sensor kit. You'll begin to see just how limited they really are.

So no, this isn't "a problem Tesla needs to solve" as if it were some failure unique to Tesla. If anyone is going to get it right, so that the machine can park itself the way humans park it, it will be by optical sensors, doing things the way we do them, looking for visual references and remembering what's hidden behind something else (that wheel stop hidden under the nose of the car).

Tesla might not get this one right first. The vehicles with "bird's eye view" have a pretty good start, but can their AI remember what's hidden from view? That will be the breakthrough that enables the technology. And it will enable a whole lot more than just parking the car with a raised obstacle underneath. That's where Tesla has the advantage. Tesla AI is years ahead of anyone else.

WW_spb | 17 december 2019

Troll gets smacked again. Classic

andy.connor.e | 17 december 2019


I bet cars will be 100% fully autonomous before anyone solves this problem. And at that point, its no longer a problem.

andy | 17 december 2019

Nissan Leaf has a camera on the front.