Tesla has been promising to be the ones to fulfill the dream of a car that drives itself for a few years now, but they keep finding that accomplishing that goal is not as easy as it might have seemed.
They’ve encountered issues from the steering wheel falling off to the cars failing to brake when they should, and this time, not seeing a child-sized mannequin on its training course.
The video shows a Tesla autopilot making very poor decisions, could prove the technology simply isn’t ready.
The test shown in the footage was conducted on Tesla’s autopilot system, and seems to show a car willing to run into a child-sized mannequin with enough force to prove fatal in real life.
Research from safety and security group The Dawn Project – whose founder, it should be noted, has invested in ad campaigns attacking Tesla’s FSD Beta program – put a Tesla 2019 Model 3 to the test. It involved the car, placed in full self-driving mode, going 40mph down a row of traffic cones.
At the end was a child-sized mannequin, and they claim in their report the conditions were optimal.
“To isolate the situation, all variables were removed from the situation except for the vehicle, the child, and the road itself. This made the testing environment more favorable to FSD (full self drive), since a real-world scenario may include distracting elements such as other vehicles in motion, weather, signage, parked cars, shadows, etc.”
In all three tests they included as part of the video and report, the Tesla failed to avoid the mannequin, striking it at an average speed of 25mph.
“This is the worst commercial software I’ve ever seen,” said founder Dan O’Dowd in a statement. “We need regulations that prohibit self-driving cars from driving on our roads until the manufacturer proves they will not mow down children in crosswalks.”
O’Dowd does seem to feel quite strongly that the Tesla – and other self-driving vehicles – are just not ready for the road.
“Elon Musk says Tesla’s Full Self-Driving software is ‘amazing.’ It’s not. It’s a lethal threat to all Americans. Over 100,000 Tesla drivers are already using the car’s Full Self-Driving mode on public roads, putting children at great risk in communities across the country.”
Musk had said previously that his cars featuring the full self-driving mode will be ready by May 2023.
A subsequent investigation into the test described above (done by Electrek) claims that full self-driving mode was never engaged.
You can decide for yourself, but I’ve seen enough to feel super leery of these cars on the road.
Especially if I’m out with my kids.