Tesla fires employee who posted shocking YouTube videos about its full self-driving beta
John Bernal, a Tesla employee who posted several shocking YouTube videos about the company’s “Full Self-Driving” beta software leading to closed calls on public streets, was fired by the company in February, according to CNBC.
Although he had no security “strikes”, Bernal also lost access to beta self-driving software in his own personal vehicle.
Eviction leaves more questions than answers. Is Tesla trying to silence its own employees, or is there more to the story?
It’s a well-established fact at this point that Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” software still has a long way to go before it allows the company’s vehicles to drive entirely themselves.
At present, the company’s controversial public beta is still limited to a select group of testers and is continually monitored by Tesla.
The software, an optional $12,000 add-on, includes an “automatic city street guidance” feature that navigates autonomously through a variety of complex environments.
But as Bernal’s own videos demonstrate – futurism has covered them on more than one occasion – beta is still beta. In fact, if left to its own devices, they strongly suggest, the software could easily lead to collisions with bollards or even pedestrians.
One video, for example, shows Bernal’s Tesla not slowing down enough when a pedestrian crosses light rail tracks or a stationary truck partially blocks the road.
Unsurprisingly, these capability gaps have drawn Tesla’s attention from US regulators, who are currently investigating the company’s self-driving software.
The story of Bernal’s sudden dismissal leaves a lot of questions unanswered. For one thing, we still don’t know Tesla’s exact reasoning for why he was fired.
Like CNBC points out, the company’s social media policy states that the company “rely on the common sense and good judgment of its employees to engage in responsible social media activity.”
Bernal, however, maintains that he was simply demonstrating “end-use products” in his videos, as he told the broadcaster.
“Says a lot about a company[y’s] culture and leadership through the actions they choose to take,” he tweeted in response to the report.
The ex-employee has been posting YouTube videos on the beta since at least February 2021 and had worked at Tesla as a data annotation specialist since August 2020 – which raises another obvious question: what is broke the camel’s back and led Tesla to send it back? now?
We also don’t know if he was abusing Tesla’s terms of service or exploiting his insider privileges as an employee in any way. While Bernal suggested in a tweet he was upfront about being an employee in his videos, it’s not immediately apparent from watching much of his content.
In short, is Tesla trying to silence Bernal, or is there something else we don’t know? Futurism has contacted Bernal and Tesla for comment.
In the meantime, Bernal will likely have no problem testing the beta while driving vehicles other than his own. In fact, he’s trying to make things right.
“I always care about Tesla, vehicle safety and finding and fixing bugs,” Bernal said. CNBC.
Chances are that Bernal will soon be snapped up by one of Tesla’s many competitors.
“John, we have several job openings to work on. [advanced driver-assistance systems] here at Ford,” the automaker’s communications director, Karl Henkel tweeted in response to eviction.
“Hi Karl, I appreciate the insight,” Bernal replied. “I’ll be checking out your Careers page soon!” »
READ MORE: Tesla fired employee after posting reviews of driverless technologies on YouTube [CNBC]
Learn more about FSD: Government official rips Tesla’s ‘Full Self-Driving’ feature
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