- Ale Choi via YouTube
- Alex Choi, a YouTuber known for flashy cars, posted a video of a Tesla car driving under Autopilot with nobody in the driver’s seat.
- It’s far from the first time an unsafe stunt has gone viral, and experts say Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s comments about Autopilot’s capabilities aren’t helping.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Despite Tesla’s own strict instructions, drivers continue to put their lives – and those of fellow motorists – at risk in pursuit of internet glory.
In the latest iteration, the 19-year-old YouTuber Alex Choi, known for his outlandish Lamborghini, posted a video on Instagram appearing to show himself in the passenger seat of a Tesla Model 3, leaving no one in the drivers seat as the compact luxury electric vehicle cruised on a highway.
…meanwhile, YouTuber and new #TeslaModel3 Performance owner, Alex Choi is posted this video to his Instagram story last night. It's probably the most reckless thing that he's done — and that's saying something. pic.twitter.com/TK5zwgRohX
— Det Ansinn (@detansinn) June 4, 2019
Shortly after a tweet with a clip of Choi’s Instagram story went viral, the scathing headlines began to promulgate.
“Video of Tesla Model 3 Driving on Autopilot Without Actual Driver Shared by Reckless YouTuber Alex Choi,” The Drive chimed in, adding that “this is the same idiot who nearly killed a motorcyclist while doing donuts on a public road. It’s time to take someone’s license away.”
Choi did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
It’s far from the first time Autopilot and people who use the “Level 2” driver-assistance software in direct contradiction of the company’s guidance has caused problems.
In 2017, a Tesla owner in the United Kingdom was banned from driving for 18 months after pleading guilty to a similar scheme in which he moved to the passenger seat while the car was underway, the Telegraph reported.
Despite CEO Elon Musk’s previous statements that Tesla cars “already have full self-driving capability on highways … from highway on-ramp to highway exit, including passing cars and going from one highway interchange to another,” the company’s own website lists these warnings about Autopilot:
“Autopilot enables your car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its lane,” the product’s page says. “Current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”
As for full self-driving, Tesla says that functionality is coming soon, and that all new vehicles have the necessary hardware already built in.
“The system is designed to be able to conduct short and long distance trips with no action required by the person in the driver’s seat,” the website says. “Your Tesla will figure out the optimal route, navigate urban streets (even without lane markings), manage complex intersections with traffic lights, stop signs and roundabouts, and handle densely packed freeways with cars moving at high speed.”