Saturday, September 30, 2023

Tesla fired employee who reviewed driver assistance features on YouTube

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Tesla has a complicated relationship with customers who pay to test the beta version of its “Full Sell Driving” software. Often these people are diehard fans, eager to promote the company’s prowess and show off the new driver assistance features. Sometimes, though, they share too much — they post videos showing exactly when and how Tesla’s software is wrong.

When the person sharing these clips also works for Tesla, things get even more complicated. John Bernal, a former Tesla employee who reviewed the company’s FSD Beta software on his YouTube channel AI addict says he was fired from the company last month after he posted a video showing his Tesla hitting a pole

Such as indicated by CNBCBernal says he was verbally told by his executives prior to his resignation that he had “violated Tesla policy” and that his YouTube channel was a “conflict of interest” (although his written notice of separation did not specify a reason for his resignation) . Bernal said he had previously been approached by managers after he posted a video in March 2021 which showed: some close calls with pedestrians and cyclists while using the FSD beta software. The video has more than 250,000 views and has been widely shared on social networks such as Twitter.

Bernal said that after posting the video, “A manager on my Autopilot team tried to dissuade me from posting negative or critical content related to FSD Beta in the future. They videoconferenced with me but never did. put something in writing.”

CNBC says Tesla’s social media policy does not prohibit employees from publicly criticizing the company’s products, but notes that the company “relies on the common sense and common sense of its employees to engage in responsible social media activities. ” Bernal says his access to the FSD Beta software was revoked after his resignation.

The FSD Beta gives customers who pay for the company’s advanced driver assistance software (branded by Tesla as “Full Self Driving,” much to the chagrin of many industry groups) access to experimental updates. tesla says: about 60,000 customers are signed up to test FSD Beta on public roads, giving it valuable data to improve the software. The company says there have been no accidents or injuries with FSD Beta since its launch (although there have been a number of deaths involving Tesla’s regular driver assistance software).

Tesla previously required customers who signed up for the FSD Beta to sign a nondisclosure agreement, telling the signatories: “There are a lot of people who want Tesla to fail; Don’t let them mischaracterize your feedback and media posts.” Tesla CEO Elon Musk later said the company “probably” didn’t need the NDAs because people tended to ignore them anyway.

A number of FSD Beta testers are posting reviews of the company’s software on YouTube, and Bernal says he plans to keep his channel (though now he has to borrow cars from friends to test FSD Beta). As Bernal told CNBC: “I still care about Tesla, vehicle safety and finding and fixing bugs.”

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