YouTube has removed two videos from its platform showing Tesla drivers using their own children to conduct safety tests.
The tests were designed to prove that Tesla’s Autopilot and “full self-driving” (FSD) beta software — the automaker’s advanced driver assistance systems that have automated driving features but don’t allow the cars to drive themselves — would automatically detect pedestrians and children. who are walking or standing on the road and avoid hitting them.
A YouTube spokesperson told CNBC, which first reported the news, that the social media platform removed the videos because YouTube does not allow content that shows a minor participating in dangerous activities or encouraging minors to engage in hazardous activities. YouTube is a division of parent company Alphabet, which also owns autonomous vehicle company Waymo.
The videos posted by Tesla investors were in part a response to a TV ad from the Dawn Project, an organization seeking to keep insecure software out of security-critical systems, showed that Tesla’s FSD software repeatedly collided with child dolls on a test track. The Dawn Project, led by Dan O’Dowd, CEO of Green Hill Software, also ran a full-page ad in The New York Times in January calling FSD “the worst software ever sold by a Fortune 500 company.”
Tad Park, a Tesla owner and investor and CEO of Volt Equity, posted a video on Aug. 14 that showed him driving a Model 3 vehicle at eight miles per hour to one of his children on a road in San Francisco. The video had tens of thousands of hits before YouTube removed it.
Park told CNBC that his children were never in danger and that he was willing to take over at any time. The video he posted showed the car slowing down and not killing or maiming his child, anyone or anything else.
Tesla vehicles come standard with Autopilot, an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) with features such as traffic-aware cruise control, steering assistance within clearly marked lanes and pedestrian detection on zebra crossings. FSD is Tesla’s more advanced ADAS and includes the parking feature Summon and Navigate on Autopilot, which navigates a car from the driveway to the highway exit and is now operational on city streets. All of these capabilities require a human driver to stay focused and take control of the vehicle when needed.
A series of accidents involving Tesla vehicles that may have been involved in one of the ADAS systems have led to investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Last week, the federal agency updated an ongoing investigation into 830,000 Tesla vehicles equipped with Autopilot to learn more about how Tesla’s cabin camera determines if a driver is not paying attention while Autopilot is on and sending alerts.
Autopilot and FSD have also come under fire at the state level lately. At the end of July, the California Department of Motor Vehicles complaints filed claimed that Tesla was falsely promoting the capabilities of its ADAS in an unsafe manner.
CEO Elon Musk tweeted Sunday that the price of FSD in North America would rise from a one-time payment of $12,000 to $15,000 starting September 5.