YouTube has removed two videos from its platform showing Tesla drivers using their own children to conduct vehicle safety tests.
The tests were intended to prove that Tesla’s Autopilot and beta “Full Self-Driving” (FSD) software — the automaker’s advanced driver assistance systems that have automated driving features but don’t allow cars to drive themselves — will automatically detect pedestrians and children walking or standing on the road and avoid bumping into them.
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 minors participating in dangerous activities or encouraging minors to engage in dangerous activities. YouTube is a division of parent company Alphabet, which also owns autonomous vehicle company Waymo.
The videos released by Tesla investors were partly a response to a television commercial from the Dawn Project, an organization aimed at banning dangerous software from safety-critical systems, which showed Tesla’s FSD software repeatedly hitting child-sized dummies on a test track. The Dawn Project, which is led by Dan O’Dowd, CEO of Green Hill Software, also published full-page ad in The New York Times in January, calling FSD “the worst software ever sold by a Fortune 500 company.”
Tad Park, owner of Tesla and investor and CEO of Volt Equity, posted a video on August 14 showing himself driving a Model 3 vehicle at eight miles per hour toward one of his children on a road in San Francisco. The video had tens of thousands of hits before YouTube took it down.
Park told CNBC that his children were never in danger and that he was ready to take over at any time. The video he posted shows the car slowing down and not killing or maiming his child or anyone or anything else.
Tesla vehicles come standard with Autopilot, an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) that includes features such as cruise control with traffic information, assistance with steering within clearly marked lanes and pedestrian detection in crosswalks. FSD is Tesla’s more advanced ADAS and includes the Summon parking feature as well as Navigate on Autopilot, which navigates a car from on-ramp to off-ramp and already works on city streets. All of these capabilities require a human driver to stay focused and take control of the vehicle when necessary.
A series of accidents involving Tesla vehicles that may have been equipped with one of the ADAS systems have prompted investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Last week, federal agency updates ongoing investigation into 830,000 Tesla vehicles equipped with Autopilot to learn more about how Tesla’s cabin camera detects if the driver is not paying attention while Autopilot is engaged and sends warnings.
Autopilot and FSD have also come under fire at the state level recently. In late July, the California Department of Motor Vehicles filed complaints claiming that Tesla is falsely advertising the capabilities of its ADAS in a dangerous manner.
CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Sunday that the price of FSD will increase in North America from a lump sum payment of $12,000 to $15,000 from September 5.