Tesla FSD Beta testers are debunking the claims that FSD doesn’t stop for “children.” Tesla FSD Beta critic, The Dawn Project, recently aired EV ads showing clips of a test that it paid for. These tests, according to The Dawn Project, show that Tesla’s FSD Beta “Tesla’s FSD software “repeatedly hits child-sized mannequins.”
Dan O’Dowd, the founder of The Dawn Project, said that Tesla’s FSD is “a lethal threat to all Americans.” Earlier this year, O’Dowd placed a full-page ad in the New York Times campaigning to ban Tesla’s FSD. He also ran for the state senate in California. His entire campaign was centered around banning Tesla’s FSD.
Debunking the claims that Tesla’s FSD Beta hits “children”
Many Tesla owners and FSD Beta testers not only disagree, but some have decided to perform their own tests. On Twitter, @WholeMarsBlog shared a thread of the many instances Tesla’s FSD Beta reacted to pedestrians and children. He pointed out that spreading misinformation is similar to running ads telling people not to wear seat belts.
Another Tesla FSD Beta tester, @TeslaDriver2022 performed their own test. I reached out to them and we spoke on the phone. @TeslaDriver2022 told me that they’ve been beta testing the software for over a year now and have seen a ton of improvements over the past year.
“Prior to the Beta program and even owning Teslas, I’ve owned Volvos for years with their Pilot Assist program which is kind of like basic Autopilot. And I was not seeing that progress. I have a family and I want my children in the safest vehicles which is why we had gotten Volvos.”
@TeslaDriver2022 told me that they would see Tesla’s video and eventually they made the switch to Tesla. Their partner drives a Model Y and they drive a Model 3.
“I became very interested in the potential of Tesla’s technology and when it came time for us to get new cars we both bought Teslas because we thought they were the safest vehicles for our family to be in.”
After driving with Volvo’s Pilot Assist for years, @TeslaDriver2022 said that Tesla’s FSD Beta continues to improve.
“The FSD Beta has just been getting better exponentially even since I’ve been using it. Just some of the predictions it’s got and the capabilities to understand when things are getting in their path. Not even that. Some of the most impressive stuff is just when I’m driving down the road at 45 miles an hour and there’s a car that will turn in front of me to get into a parking lot.
“Its ability to understand whether or not that car is gonna make it or not and whether or not it needs to slow down. It’s becoming very human-like.”
@TeslaDriver2022’s Tesla FSD Beta test with “children”
I asked @TeslaDriver2022 what was it about O’Dowd’s ad that inspired them to perform their own Tesla FSD Beta testing with a “child.” @TeslaDriver2022 told me that they thought the ad “simply just was not true.”
“That commercial is 100%, not the experience I’ve ever had driving my Tesla.”
“I saw his ad on the news after work yesterday and I thought, ‘what is this?!‘ And to be honest with you, I didn’t really know too much about him until that came out. Later on, I was just sitting on the couch really bothered by the ad.
“I drive with FSD Beta with my kids in the car all the time. I see how safe it is. It’s safer than anything else that’s out there. I was talking to my partner and joking and said that ‘I’m about to go into the garage and get one of our Amazon boxes, cut out a cardboard ‘child’ and put one of our kids’ jackets on it and run a test.'”
@TeslaDriver2022’s partner thought this was brilliant and they immediately ran the tests. They ran multiple tests and after tweeting it, received feedback from various Twitter users wanting them to perform other variations of the tests.
“When I originally tested it, I did around eight different tests and in every single one of them, the vehicle would path predict around the cardboard ‘child.’ It wasn’t even ever a close call. It went around the child-sized object every single time.”
After doing the tests that Twitter users suggested, @TeslaDriver2022 recorded what they said was the most impressive of the results.
“I had my neighbor come over and I did a couple of other videos. One was more to the right, one with the ‘child’ crossing the street, and one where my neighbor just launched it out and I think the launched-out ones were a little bit more impressive because that shows a lot of the AI that Tesla has.”
In the last set of tests, the launching out of the cardboard ‘child’ simulates an all too common scenario where a child runs out in front of an oncoming car. The fact that Tesla’s AI was able to tell what was happening and avoided hitting the object is telling.
“I don’t necessarily believe a lot of other vehicles have that. And the fact that Tesla is constantly updating it and making it better is what’s really impressive about it.”
Disclaimer: Johnna is long Tesla.