YouTube removes videos by Tesla investors using kids in FSD beta testing

Tesla Model 3

Source: Tesla

YouTube has removed some videos from its platform showing Tesla drivers performing amateur vehicle safety tests using their children in place of mannequins in the street or driveway.

The tests were to determine whether a slow-moving Tesla equipped with the company’s latest driver assistance systems would automatically avoid colliding with pedestrians — in this case children — walking or standing on the street.

After reaching CNBC, a YouTube spokesperson, Elena Hernandez, wrote in an e-mail Friday night:

“YouTube does not allow content that encourages minors to participate in dangerous activities or encourages minors to participate in dangerous activities. Upon review, we determined that the videos CNBC picked up for us violate our Harmful and Dangerous Policies. infringement, and as a result we removed the content.”

The specific policy cited by YouTube pertains to harmful and dangerous content. The company removes videos that encourage dangerous or illegal activities that risk serious bodily harm or death when they are detected. “In particular, we do not allow content that encourages minors to be shown in harmful situations that could lead to injury, including dangerous stunts, dares or pranks,” the spokesperson said.

Tesla markets its driver assistance systems in the US as a standard package called Autopilot and a premium option called Full Self-Driving (or FSD), which costs $12,000 up front, or $199 per month. It gives some drivers access to an experimental program called Full Self-Driving Beta if they achieve high scores on the company’s in-vehicle safety tests.

Neither of these systems make Tesla cars self-driving, nor safe to use without the driver behind the steering wheel, attentive to the road and able to steer, brake or accelerate on short notice. Tesla owners caution drivers that the systems do not make their cars autonomous.

Driver: ‘I was ready to take over at any time’

In a video posted on August 14, Tesla owner and investor in Elon Musk-led company, Tad Park, shows a model speeding eight miles per hour toward one of his children on a street in the San Francisco Bay Area. 3 was driving. No one was hurt in the test.

The first video from YouTube has garnered thousands of views, which is . is a division of Alphabet’s Google removed it. Alphabet also owns autonomous vehicle technology developer and robotic taxi operator Waymo.

Park is the CEO of Volt Equity, and the portfolio manager of an autonomous driving technology-focused ETF called VCAR. “I have experienced the product myself, and believe in my investment,” Park told CNBC. “We took extensive safety precautions so that children are never in danger.”

In a follow-up email, Park wrote, “First we tried on a mannequin, then we tried with a tall basketball player, then finally a kid stood up and my other kid crossed the street.”

He added that the car was never traveling at more than eight mph, and explained, “We made sure the car recognized the child. Even if the system failed completely, I would be able to handle it at any time.” I was ready. I understood when I needed to apply the brakes if the car wasn’t slowing down enough.”

The tests were successful, in Park’s view, as the car slowed down and did not hit any objects, pedestrians or her children. Asked if he would do it again, he said: “I don’t think further tests are necessary, but if I did, then yes, I would do this test again.”

“That being said, I would not advise people to deliberately try it at home,” he said.

Park tested the software company’s founder as a rebuttal to a national advertising campaign Dan O’Dowd Criticizing Tesla’s driver assistance features.

The video, which has now been removed, was posted to a YouTube channel called Whole Mars Catalog, which is run by Omar Kazi, a Tesla shareholder and key promoter on the social network. Tesla CEO Elon Musk frequently blogs on Twitter and interacts with Kazi.

In addition to YouTube, CNBC contacted the California DMV and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to ask whether such videos are safe or legal.

NHTSA said on August 16, “NHTSA advises the public that it may be extremely dangerous for anyone to attempt to test vehicle technologies on their own. Don’t put anyone else’s life at risk. Technical.”

The agency also noted, “As NHTSA has consistently stated, no vehicle available for purchase today is capable of driving itself. The most advanced vehicle technologies available for purchase today provide driver assistance and ease driving tasks.” Requires a fully attentive human driver at all times and monitoring of the surrounding environment.”

The California DMV told CNBC via email: “As advanced vehicle technologies become more widely available, the DMV shares similar concerns with other traffic safety stakeholders regarding the potential for driver misunderstanding or misuse of these features.” The DMV has previously indicated to Tesla and continues to emphasize the importance of providing clear and effective communication to customers, buyers and the general public regarding the capabilities, limitations and intended use of any vehicle technology.”

The California DMV recently alleged that Tesla engages in deceptive marketing or false advertising where its driver assistance system is concerned. It is also in the midst of a lengthy review of the safety of Tesla’s technology, including the FSD beta.

Police in the town where Park conducted the testing operation did not respond in time for publication. Tesla did not immediately return a request for comment.

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