The Dawn Project recently conducted a safety test of the latest version of Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta, which found that it ran down a moving child-sized mannequin in its path.

The test was conducted on a public road in Goleta, California, and corroborated The Dawn Project’s previous safety tests which found that Tesla Full Self-Driving will repeatedly run down a child-sized mannequin.

The child-sized mannequin was pulled across the road while the Tesla was approaching with Full Self-Driving engaged, to simulate a child crossing the road in front of a moving car. Onboard footage of the safety test clearly shows that Full Self-Driving Beta – the latest software version available at the time of the test – was engaged. A flashlight was also mounted within the footwell of the car to clearly display that the driver did not touch the pedals in any way during the course of the safety test. The road was empty and there was room to swerve to avoid the collision.


Watch The Dawn Project’s real-world safety test:


To view The Dawn Project’s previous safety tests, which also took place in controlled conditions, please follow the links here and here.


Addressing Previous Unfounded Criticism of The Dawn Project’s Safety Tests

There was criticism of our previous safety tests on social media. This criticism was entirely without foundation, however, for the avoidance of doubt, we have addressed these points as follows:

“The child-sized mannequin was camouflaged” – We dressed the child-sized mannequin in a bright red coat to make it as visible as possible.

“Children don’t stand still” – The child-sized mannequin was pulled across the road, simulating a moving child.

“The accelerator pedal was pressed” – We installed a flashlight in the driver’s footwell, so that the accelerator pedal is clearly visible to the onboard camera.

“There are illegible error messages on the Tesla’s display” – The only error message shown on the Tesla’s display reads: “Supercharging Unavailable: Add a payment method to your Tesla account”:


The Tesla had room to manoeuvre around the mannequin, or slow down and stop before reaching the mannequin’s position. This is a situation that human drivers routinely navigate with ease and yet the Tesla ran the mannequin down. This would have been fatal to a real child.

At no point does the Tesla Full-Self Driving software register the presence of the moving mannequin in its path, even though it is stationed on the side of the road, and is dressed in red to make it as visible as possible.

The speed limit on the road was 55mph. At 38mph, eight seconds before the collision with the child-sized mannequin, the human driver registers the child and would have slowed down if they had been in control of the car. However, the Tesla fails to register the presence of the child on the side of the road and accelerates from 38mph to 50mph towards the child-sized mannequin before striking it at 50mph.



This test confirms 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.