Tesla has a complicated relationship with customers who pay to test beta versions of its “Semi-Full Drive” software. Usually, these people are die-hard fans who want to promote the power of the company and show off their new driver-assistance features. Sometimes, though, they overshare – posting videos showing exactly when and how Tesla’s software makes mistakes.
When the person who shared these clips also works for Tesla, things are more complicated. John Bernal, a former Tesla employee who reviewed the company’s FSD Beta software on his YouTube channel AI Addic said he was fired by the company last month after posting a video showing his Tesla car hit a cotton.
Equal reported by CNBCBernal said that before he was fired, he was verbally told by his managers that he had “violated Tesla’s policy” and that his YouTube channel was a “conflict of interest” (despite the separation notice) His written statement did not specify the reason for his dismissal). Bernal said he was previously approached by regulators after posting a video in March 2021 showing some friendly calls with pedestrians and cyclists while using FSD beta software. The video has more than 250,000 views and is widely shared on social networks like Twitter.
Bernal said that after posting the video, “A manager from my Autopilot team tried to prevent me from posting any negative or critical content regarding the FSD Beta in the future. They held a video conference with me but never wrote anything in writing. ”
CNBC says Tesla’s social media policy towards employees does not prohibit public criticism of the company’s products, but notes that the company “relies on common sense and good employee reviews to engage into responsible social media practices.” Bernal said that after being fired, his access to the FSD Beta software was revoked.
FSD Beta offers paying customers for the company’s advanced driver-assistance software (which Tesla calls “Full Self-Driving,” to the annoyance of many industry groups) access to experimental updates. Tesla said about 60,000 customers is registered to test the FSD Beta on public roads, providing it with invaluable data to improve the software. The company says there have been no accidents or injuries related to the FSD Beta since its launch (although there have been some deaths where Tesla’s conventional driver-assistance software has been involved).
Tesla previously required customers who opted in to the FSD Beta to sign a non-disclosure agreement, told the signatories: “There are a lot of people who want Tesla to fail; Don’t let them misinterpret your responses and media posts.” Tesla CEO Elon Musk then said companies “probably” don’t need NDA because people tend to ignore them.
Several FSD Beta testers post reviews of the company’s software on YouTube, and Bernal says he intends to keep his channel going (although he now needs to borrow friends’ cars for FSD Beta testing) . As Bernal said CNBC: “I’m still concerned about Tesla, vehicle safety, and fault finding and fixing.”
https://www.theverge.com/2022/3/16/22980580/tesla-fired-employee-john-bernal-ai-addict-youtube-full-self-driving-beta-reviews Tesla fires employee who reviewed its driver-assistance features on YouTube