There have been many conflicting tests related to the autopilot mode. Obviously there are so many factors making it hard to achieve a "controlled" experiment.
Update: Video embed/playback has been disabled by author - click here to go direct to the YouTube video.
While hitting a child or any human being, for that matter, would be devastating, hitting anything (a bucket, a cone, a trashcan, a small animal, etc.) is not something that is "preferred". In the video, every test is done is summon mode, without a driver in the vehicle.
All tests were done over a very short distance at extremely low speed. This technology is young and it will take much time to test and perfect it. Drivers must understand that currently autopilot and autonomous modes are only to "assist" the driver that is engaged and responsive and that summon mode requires your attention too.
Tesla Autopilot/Summon: Will It Detect a Child? Or turn them into pulp?
The Tesla On Autopilot Using Summons Mode Does Not Hit The Child
After some fuss in the news about claims a Model S Auto Pilot did not see a child, I decided to do some simple tests to see just what will stop a autopilot or summoned Model S vehicle. Tests should reflect the same for the Model X as well, as it uses the same hardware.
Findings were pretty straight forward. First test using Vinny's Lucky (Don't Ask...) Stuffed Duck did not trigger the car to stop. I attribute this to lack of mass of the duck. With so much stuffing, the duck did not have enough "Mass" to reflect back any sonar or ultrasonic from the car.
Test 2, the 5gallon bucket. This in fact did stop the car using the parking sensors. It did not trigger the autopilot sensor.
Third, ME!!! I, somewhat nervously, used myself as a test subject as well. With me, the car saw me in every instance.
Fourth, THE GENO! I had him stand slightly to the side of the car for safety. I also stood within arms reach. I did not risk testing the autopilot sensor as that would require him being directly in front of the moving vehicle, and he would not survive getting run over (Heck, raccoon didn't even survive last summer!). The car did in fact see Geno.
Hat tip to sven!