A Tesla employee who posted videos of his experience with the Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta has been fired. His dismissal came right after he shared a video of the first (albeit small) confirmed crash on FSD Beta.
Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving Beta” (FSD Beta) is an early version of its self-driving software that is currently being tested by a fleet of company-selected Tesla owners and through its “test score of security”.
The software allows the vehicle to navigate autonomously to a destination entered into the car’s navigation system, but the driver must remain alert and ready to take control at all times.
Since the responsibility lies with the driver and not Tesla’s system, it’s still considered a level two driver assistance system despite its name, but Tesla hopes to eventually remove the driver as a supervisor via future updates. software updates.
Following the progress made with the beta program, we often watched and shared videos of early beta testers, like AI Addict on YouTube, who often posted driving experiences on FSD Beta.
What we didn’t know was that AI Addict, now known as John Bernal, was a Tesla employee when these videos were made.
We now learn that Bernal was fired by Tesla late last month (via CNBC):
“Tesla fired a former Autopilot employee named John Bernal after he shared candid video reviews on his YouTube channel, AI Addict, showing how the company’s Full Self Driving Beta system worked in different locations in Silicon Valley.”
Although Tesla didn’t reveal the reason for his dismissal, Bernal was tipped off on his YouTube channel before the dismissal and a manager suggested he doesn’t share things that show the system in a bad light.
The timing of the shot is also interesting since Bernal has been posting FSD Beta videos for over a year and leaked the channel to Tesla, but he was fired just weeks after posting a video showing Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta colliding to a pole. , in what may be the first FSD accident on film.
Electrek and several other outlets shared the video, and it garnered nearly 200,000 views, 10 times more than most of its previous videos.
Bernal was fired soon after. He spent more than a year as a data annotation specialist at Tesla before recently moving to a position as an “advanced driver assistance systems test operator,” which he was doing mostly on his Youtube channel – a possible conflict of interest.
The former Tesla employee said he had never shared anything about the FSD or Tesla beta that wasn’t already public and in the hands of customers.
Interestingly, Tesla also revoked Bernal’s access to FSD Beta on his personal Model 3. Previously, Tesla had only done this to people who received “safety strikes,” but Bernal had none, even after last month’s crash.
It’s unclear whether Tesla is within its rights to do so, but one thing complicating the situation is that Bernal purchased his Model 3 as a Tesla employee when the automaker was running a promotion offering the FSD package, which at the time era was worth $8,000, to employees willing to test the beta version for free.
Tesla has already come under scrutiny for encouraging FSD beta testers not to share material that could be used against the company in an NDA.
CEO Elon Musk, who calls himself a ‘free speech absolutist’, says Tesla shouldn’t have NDAs under FSD Beta program and testers ‘don’t follow them’ anyway.
However, there was talk at the time of employees sharing the FSD Beta videos on social networks.
It’s a weird situation because common sense would tell me the guy was asking for it, for lack of better words. Typically, you don’t start an entire YouTube channel by posting dozens of videos about your experience with a product made by your employer.
That doesn’t sound like a good idea.
On the other hand, what’s so wrong? It looks like a bad idea because of the optics, but it wasn’t done with bad intentions as far as I can tell.
And now the optics are bad for Tesla since they fired the man right after he posted a video of what could be the first crash on FSD Beta.
But of course, we only get part of the story here since Tesla does not comment on the situation.
FTC: We use revenue-generating automatic affiliate links. Continued.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.