Elon Musk fan wants to prove Tesla won't run over children by trying to run over child

A Tesla about to run over a mannequin
The Dawn Project's test has been criticised for not reflecting reality. Photo credit: Supplied / The Dawn Project

It's a well known phenomenon that Elon Musk fans attack people who criticise their idol online, many seemingly believing the bombastic billionaire can do no wrong.

However, one such fan is going the extra mile to try and prove a story this week about Tesla cars failing to detect children in the road is wrong - and he's willing to try and run down a child to prove it.

Twitter user Omar Qazi - who tweets as Whole Mars Catalogue - appears to have taken The Dawn Project's testing as a personal insult and has persuaded a couple to volunteer their child to prove the EV's Full Self Driving (FSD) does indeed stop for kids.

In its report, The Dawn Project carried out what it described as a "scientific test of the capability of Tesla's Full Self-Driving technology to avoid a stationary mannequin of a small child".

The executive summary said it had "demonstrated conclusively that the software does not avoid the child or even slow down when the child is in plain view".

"A Tesla Model 3 equipped with full self-driving software repeatedly struck the child mannequin in a manner that would be fatal to an actual child. The software is a demonstrable  danger to human life and must be removed from the market immediately," it concluded.

The Dawn Project, founded by software entrepreneur and Musk critic Dan O'Dowd, shared raw video footage of its test car mowing down the mannequin multiple times.

However, Qazi says the video simply doesn't match the performance of the Tesla that he witnesses every day.

He asked his nearly 130,000 followers whether anyone in the Bay Area would volunteer their child to "make a point".

"I promise I won't run them over... (will disengage if needed)," he continued, indicating that he would take control of the car if he felt there was any danger.

Qazi said The Dawn Project's members were afraid of being exposed as liars.

"If it's really true that it doesn't stop for children, that needs to be fixed. But that's not the experience I've had with it."

He continued, addressing some of the backlash he had received for wanting to try it out with a real child.

"A lot of very stupid people seem to think I'm going to murder someone," he tweeted, before sharing nine reasons why the child wound't be harmed.

That included the test being performed at just 5m/h and the driver being the father of the child.

"100,000 cars are running this every day. It is interacting with millions of pedestrians including kids," said Qazi. 

"If there is a problem, it needs to be documented immediately. If there isn't, the liars there need to be called out and exposed for trying to kill people for money."

He then kept attacking his critics, telling them there was "no need to shit your britches".

"This is very serious to me. It is not a joke and it is not 'for fun'.

"We plan to run over the child on Saturday," he concluded.

Qazi, who regularly tweets at Musk and uses derogatory terms to refer to critics of the billionaire, has also picked up a mannequin to be used as part of the test.

He also retweeted suggestions that the testing was part of a conspiracy against the Tesla CEO.

"The fact that Dan O'Dowd posted videos of Teslas 'mowing down [fake] children' the same day that Taylor Ogan posted a similar video and Ralph Nader released a statement saying FSD should be banned is not a coincidence," Qazi claimed.

Former Presidential candidate Nader has called on the US travel safety agency to recall Tesla's FSD feature, calling it "one of the most dangerous and irresponsible actions by a car company in decades".