U.S. auto safety regulators on Wednesday warned Tesla owners who plan to test self-driving technology with their children: Don’t do it. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that the agency uses controlled procedures when testing vehicle technology and that “any attempt to test vehicle technology on their own could be highly dangerous.”
“No one should risk their own or anyone else’s life to test the performance of vehicle technology,” NHTSA said. “Consumers should never try to create their own test scenarios or use real people, especially children, to test a car. performance of the technology.”
NHTSA’s statement was in response to recent tweets from Tesla owners. The tweets show that Tesla owners put their children in a test called Full Self-Driving (FSD). There is a 10-minute video on Twitter showing the inside of a Tesla vehicle.
The car was parked on a residential street and the owner was testing the self-driving mode. In the video, a child is standing in the street as the car starts to drive slowly towards him, stopping just before hitting the child. Before that, a video released by a safety engineer showed that Tesla Autopilot could not recognize children and repeatedly crashed into child-sized models. After this, some people began to imitate the release of related test videos.
Self-driving technology has come under scrutiny, especially after NHTSA last year began investigating whether Tesla’s Autopilot system was flawed. The investigation follows more than a dozen crashes involving emergency vehicles, signaling a change in regulators’ attitude toward Tesla. Safety advocates have complained for years that Tesla advertises its driver assistance systems as Autopilot and FSD.
NHTSA reiterated in Wednesday’s statement that “no vehicles currently on the market are capable of autonomous driving.” NHTSA also said the bureau has a 2017 Tesla Model S 90D that received an FSD test software update on April 1.
The model is one of many vehicles NHTSA has used for testing and is currently in use at its facility in East Liberty, Ohio. The confirmation sheds new light on NHTSA’s testing capabilities. Documents previously posted online show that NHTSA had requested a system update in January. In response, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter on Tuesday: “Okay, we’ll push an update.”