A video released last week by noted Tesla critic Dan O'Dowd shows a Tesla repeatedly hitting a dummy of comparable size to a child. Once released, the video went viral on social media, sparking public skepticism while angry Tesla fans tested Tesla's Fully Self-Driving (FSD) system with real children to counter the criticism.
Omar Kach, who runs the Tesla fan account "WholeMarsBlog," was eager to refute Dan O'Dowd's test results, hoping to prove that he was "lying about life-saving technology," and immediately posted an open letter on Twitter asking San Francisco parents to bring their children to test the software.
On Sunday, Tesla fan Omar Kach released a video of the test, and he also said that if the Tesla did not brake in time, he would take over manually to ensure safety.
Ted Parker, CEO of Volte Equity, brought his two children along for the test. "I'm confident that I can leave my kids with FSD and I'm also controlling the steering wheel so I can brake at any time", Parker stressed in the video.
In the test, Parker's daughter stands in the middle of the road and the Tesla FSD appears to identify the child who is stationary outside of the three cars. The video shows the car driving forward and stopping at 5 miles per hour until the child is out of its trajectory range.
Then Parker conducted a similar test with his five-year-old son. The boy walked across the street as the Tesla came from the same distance at less than 10 miles per hour. At that point, the Tesla seemed to slow down until the child crossed the street.
"It was a little nerve-wracking at first, but I knew it was important for the Tesla to be able to recognize the child and stop the car. I think it's going to save a lot of kids' lives," Parker said in the video.
The video features several tests showing that the FSD system was able to identify the dummy as well as an adult man in the middle of the road. However, the tests never exceeded a travel speed of about 20 miles per hour. For comparison, previous tests by Tesla critics have been conducted at speeds of about 40 miles per hour.
Karcher wasn't the only Tesla fan to conduct the test. After the video was released, several FSD drivers took to the streets to verify that the system could recognize child-sized dummies, with varying results from the tests.
Notably, none of these tests were conducted under the supervision of U.S. regulators, meaning they were not subject to the same testing standards.
For the current stage of self-driving capabilities, whether you trust it or not, don't play with human lives.