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YouTube removes video by Tesla investors using kids in FSD Beta test


Tesla Model 3

Source: Tesla

YouTube has removed a pair of videos from its platform which showed Tesla drivers conducting amateur vehicle safety tests using their very own children instead of mannequins within the road or the driveway.

The tests were to find out if a slow-moving Tesla equipped with the corporate’s latest driver assistance systems would robotically avoid colliding with pedestrians — on this case children — walking or standing still within the road.

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

“YouTube doesn’t allow content showing a minor participating in dangerous activities or encouraging minors to do dangerous activities. Upon review, we determined that the videos raised to us by CNBC violate our harmful and dangerous policies, and because of this we removed the content.”

The particular policy that YouTube cited is pertaining to harmful and dangerous content. The corporate removes videos that encourage dangerous or illegal activities that risk serious physical harm or death when it’s aware of them. The spokesperson said, “Specifically, we do not allow content showing or encouraging minors in harmful situations that will result in injury, including dangerous stunts, dares, or pranks.”

Tesla markets its driver assistance systems within the U.S. as a normal package called Autopilot and a premium option called Full Self-Driving (or FSD) that costs $12,000 up front or $199 per 30 days. It also offers some drivers access to an experimental program called Full Self-Driving Beta in the event that they attain a high rating on the corporate’s in-vehicle safety tests.

None of those systems make Tesla cars self-driving, nor secure to make use of and not using a driver behind the steering wheel, attentive to the road and capable of steer, brake, or speed up on short notice. Tesla’s owners manuals caution drivers that the systems don’t make their cars autonomous.

Driver: ‘I used to be prepared to take over at any time’

In a video posted on Sunday August 14th, a Tesla owner and investor within the Elon Musk-led company, Tad Park, drove a Model 3 vehicle at eight miles per hour towards certainly one of his children on a road within the San Francisco Bay Area. Nobody was hurt within the test.

The video had tens of hundreds of views before YouTube, a division of Alphabet’s Google, removed it. Alphabet also owns Waymo, the autonomous vehicle technology developer and robotaxi operator.

Park is the CEO of Volt Equity, and portfolio manager of an autonomous driving technology focused ETF called VCAR. “I even have experienced the product myself, and consider in my investments,” Park told CNBC. “We did extensive safety precautions so that youngsters were never in peril.” 

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

He said the automotive was never traveling greater than eight miles an hour, and explained, “We made sure the automotive recognized the child. Even when the system completely failed, I used to be prepared to take over at any time. I had a way of after I was going to wish to brake if the automotive was not sufficiently slowing down.”

The tests were successful in Park’s view, since the automotive slowed and didn’t strike any object, pedestrian or his kids. Asked if he would do it again, he said: “I don’t think further tests are needed, but when I did, yes, I might do that test again.”

“That being said, I would not recommend people to deliberately do that at home,” he added.

Park conducted the tests partly as a rebuttal against a national promoting campaign from software company founder Dan O’Dowd criticizing Tesla’s driver assistance features.

The video, now removed, was posted on a YouTube channel named Whole Mars Catalog, which is run by Omar Qazi, a shareholder and major promoter of Tesla on social networks. Tesla CEO Elon Musk often interacts with the blog and Qazi on Twitter.

Along with YouTube, CNBC reached out to the California DMV and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to ask whether such videos are secure or legal.

NHTSA said on Aug. 16, “NHTSA advises the general public that it might be highly dangerous for anyone to try and test vehicle technologies on their very own. Nobody should risk their life, or the lifetime of anyone else, to check the performance of auto technology.” 

The agency also noted, “As NHTSA has stated consistently, no vehicle available for purchase today is able to driving itself. Probably the most advanced vehicle technologies available for purchase today provide driver assistance and require a totally attentive human driver in any respect times performing the driving task and monitoring the encompassing environment.”

The California DMV told CNBC via email: “As advanced vehicle technologies change into more widely available, DMV shares the identical concerns as other traffic safety stakeholders in regards to the potential for driver misunderstanding or misuse of those features. DMV has previously indicated to Tesla and continues to emphasise the importance of providing clear and effective communication to customers, buyers and most of the people in regards to the capabilities, limitations and intended use of any vehicle technology.”

The California DMV recently alleged that Tesla is engaging in deceptive marketing or false promoting where its driver assistance systems are concerned. Additionally it is within the midst of a lengthy safety related review of Tesla’s technology including FSD Beta.

Police within the town where Park conducted the test drive didn’t respond in time for publication. Tesla didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

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