A North Carolina man is testing Tesla’s Full Self-Driving by driving toward his son in the road in an attempt to refute viral videos of the EV smashing into child mannequins

  • A North Carolina man is trialing Tesla’s Full Self-Driving technology using his son as a test subject. 
  • In videos posted this month, the auto shop owner is calling out opponents of the technology like tech CEO Dan O’Dowd. 
  • O’Dowd’s organization The Dawn Project is behind viral videos of the cars ramming through child-sized mannequins. 

After a series of viral videos emerged showing Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) technology ramming into childlike dummies, one man is now using his 11-year-old son as a test subject to prove the videos wrong. 

Carmine Cupani, a North Carolina resident who owns an auto shop that imports Teslas, is taking to YouTube to share his own FSD trial runs while his son stands in the middle of the street. In the clips, he calls out “Doofice Dan,” referring to the tech CEO Dan O’Dowd, an outspoken opponent of FSD who has been funding the tests showing electric vehicles crashing into child-sized mannequins.

In Cupani’s first video shared earlier this month, he speeds up to 35 mph with FSD activated, showing the dashboard as the car recognizes a human figure, and then slows and moves around his son.

In another video posted this week, Cupani conducts a similar test with his son. Taken on a narrower street, this time the car’s technology spots his son and stops completely to avoid him.


“Some people look at it and say, ‘Oh this crazy dad, what is he doing?'” Cupani told CNN Business. “Well, I do a lot of stuff like that, but I’m going to make sure my kid doesn’t get hit.”

Cupani added: “This Dan guy, he says he’s an expert in this, expert in that. Well, I’m an expert in automotive, future technology, pro driving instructor.”

Some Tesla fans have taken issue with O’Dowd’s tests, which have been operated and funded independently through his organization, The Dawn Project. As part of the effort, O’Dowd is calling on Congress to ban Tesla’s FSD technology, and he even previously attempted to run for Senate on a platform based entirely on the effort. 

“The deeply disturbing results of our safety test of Tesla Full Self-Driving should be a rallying cry to action,” O’Dowd said in a statement earlier this month. “Elon Musk says Tesla’s Full Self-Driving software is ‘amazing.’ It’s not. It’s a lethal threat to all Americans.”