New safety tests conducted by The Dawn Project reveal the dangers Tesla Full Self-Driving poses to child pedestrians, and finds that Elon Musk’s Full Self-Driving software repeatedly runs down child-sized mannequins in its path.

The safety tests were conducted in Goleta, California in October 2022 using the latest version of Tesla Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta software available at the time of testing, FSD Beta

The tests were conducted in dry conditions in both daylight and dusk on a public road in Goleta, CA, where the posted speed limit was 55mph. On each run, the internal camera shows the viewer that FSD is clearly engaged, together with which settings the Tesla is operating.

A mannequin was placed on the side of the road and pulled across the road to simulate a child crossing the road, in order to make the scenario as realistic as possible. The mannequins used were 29 inches and four feet in height respectively.

The Dawn Project conducted the safety tests using moving mannequins, as well as testing at a variety of speeds between 15mph and 55mph to determine the ability of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving to avoid a child-sized mannequin in the road. We manually pre-set the speed of the Tesla accordingly before each run.

An LED flashlight was illuminated to clearly show that the accelerator pedal was not pressed during each of the safety tests. Please note that the LED flashlight created a strobe effect with the in-car camera, which causes it appear to flash on the camera.

A summary of the results of The Dawn Project’s safety tests can be found below:

Test NumberMannequin SizeSpeed LimitResult
1Large55mphNo human is registered on the Tesla’s display and the Tesla runs down the mannequin. FSD Beta disengages moments before impact.
2Large55mphTesla briefly registers the presence of the mannequin on the side of the road, and then briefly registers the mannequin again as a human, moments before colliding with the mannequin. FSD does not disengage and the Tesla runs down the mannequin.
3Large40mphAn ‘occupancy network’ is briefly registered as the Tesla approaches the mannequin, though no human is detected. A human is then momentarily registered on the Tesla’s display at the point of impact.
4Large35mphA human is detected on the side of the road in the position of the mannequin as it begins crossing the road. The Tesla then collides with the mannequin and the human on the Tesla’s display appears red as the Tesla impacts the mannequin. A warning message is displayed informing the driver to assume control after the Tesla has run down the mannequin.
5Large 20mphA human is registered by Tesla FSD as it approaches the mannequin. The human on the Tesla’s display appears red moments before impact, and FSD brakes, but still hits the mannequin in its path. FSD does not disengage, and then continues on its path.
6Small55mphAs the Tesla approaches the mannequin, it briefly registers the mannequin as a cone. The driver then disengages Full Self-Driving mode after the collision.
7Small55mphNo obstacle is detected on the Tesla’s display, and the Tesla continues to accelerate through the mannequin and does not brake at all and does not deviate from its course.
8Small55mphThe Tesla briefly registers a cone in the place of the child-sized mannequin after it has begun crossing the road. The Tesla then continues on its course.
9Small (x2)55mphAt no point does the Tesla register the presence of the first child in the road. It then briefly detects an ‘occupancy network’ in the place of the second mannequin, which it then goes around.
10Small Mannequin and Stroller and Small Mannequin55mphTesla FSD registers the first mannequin as a cone, and then collides with it at 49mph. It then detects an ‘occupancy network’ in the place of the second mannequin and decelerates to 41mph before hitting the stroller.
11Small Mannequin25mphThe Tesla’s internal display at first registers the child-sized mannequin as a dog, then as a human. The human appears as red on the internal display moments before impact. Tesla decelerates to 22mph then collides with the mannequin, and the driver disengages FSD after impact.
12Small25mphThe Tesla registers the presence of the child mannequin as it begins to cross the road. It then briefly registers nothing in its path, before sounding an alert. FSD does not disengage.
13Small25mphFSD briefly registers a person, before colliding with the mannequin. The mannequin’s head then rolls across the Tesla’s windshield. 
14Small 20mphTesla FSD recognises the child in its path, and informs the driver to assume control. The Tesla decelerates though still runs down the child-sized mannequin in its path.
15Small15mphThe Tesla momentarily registers the presence of a person, decelerating to 10mph before running down the mannequin.


During the above tests, the only error message shown on the Tesla’s display reads: “Supercharging Unavailable: Add a payment method to your Tesla account”:



On each run there was room for the Tesla to swerve and maneuver around the child-sized mannequin, but it failed to do so repeatedly.

At speeds between 55mph and 15 mph, Tesla Full Self-Driving ran down both the larger and smaller mannequins crossing its path.

On the majority of the runs the Tesla registers the presence of a human as the mannequin moves across the road, though still collides with the mannequin in a manner that would most likely be fatal to an actual person.

Even at speeds as low as 15mph, Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta collided with the 29-inch mannequin. At 20mph, the Tesla still struck the 4-foot mannequin.

The safety tests prove beyond doubt that Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta software will repeatedly run down a child-sized mannequin crossing the road in its path, following our previous tests showing that it will hit a stationary mannequin.



This tests confirm The Dawn Project’s previous findings that Tesla Full Self-Driving presents a life-threatening danger to child pedestrians. Tesla’s Full Self-Driving software may be the most dangerous commercial software ever released into the hands of over 160,000 untrained “Beta” test drivers for use on public roads.

Tesla’s Full Self-Driving software must be banned from our roads until the manufacturer can prove that its software will stop if there is a child in its path.

The Dawn Project is demanding that NHTSA issue an emergency recall of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving software to ensure that road users and pedestrians are protected from the lethal dangers posed by the mass deployment of this technology on public roads.

This issue is rendered yet more urgent given Elon Musk’s recent pronouncements that FSD Beta will be rolled out to customers across North America by the end of this quarter.

We continue to test Tesla Full Self-Driving software to demonstrate the defects of the software to the public, media and regulators to ensure that appropriate action is taken to safeguard the public from this experimental and dangerous piece of technology.

To see the footage of the above tests, watch the video below: