Skip to main content

Tesla asks owners to share fewer clips of ‘Full Self-Driving’ beta mistakes

Tesla asks owners to share fewer clips of ‘Full Self-Driving’ beta mistakes

/

Participants have to sign an NDA, where the company asks them to share ‘selectively’

Share this story

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Tesla is making owners who opt in to the controversial beta version of its “Full Self-Driving” software sign non-disclosure agreements and is also discouraging them from sharing video clips that show the driver assistance system making mistakes.

According to a copy of the NDA obtained by Vice, Tesla tells those who sign the document that “there are a lot of people that want Tesla to fail; Don’t let them mischaracterize your feedback and media posts.” The company also says owners in the beta should “share on social media responsibly and selectively” and “consider sharing fewer videos, and only the ones that you think are interesting or worthy of being shared.” 

Vice’s report comes as Tesla is now working on expanding access to the “Full Self-Driving” software, all while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigates the company’s less-advanced Autopilot driver assistance system currently available on its cars.

“there are a lot of people that want Tesla to fail”

Tesla has allowed a small group of die-hard owners to test the beta version of the “Full Self-Driving” software for about a year now. Some of them take their roles as “beta testers” quite seriously and try to find flaws in the system in an effort to help Tesla make the software better. Many also film themselves traveling around with the software running. Some compress their longer drives into supercuts, speeding up the footage to emphasize just how far the software can take them without human intervention. Others post the raw footage, warts and all.

(As always, to be clear: this software does not make Tesla’s cars fully autonomous. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has himself even said that he believes the “feature complete” version of the software his company calls “Full Self-Driving” will, at best, only be “likely” to drive someone from their home to work without human intervention and will still require supervision. That does not describe a fully autonomous car.)

This whole process — the years of unfulfilled claims of being able to make fully autonomous cars, the idea of beta testing in-development drivers assistance software on public streets with untrained owners behind the wheel — has drawn Musk and Tesla a lot of scrutiny. Recently, though, a clip from a video originally shot by Tesla owner and investor Galileo Russell went viral and charged the conversation even more.

A few people in the “Full Self-Driving” beta show the software with no edits, warts and all

In it, Russell’s car should be merging left, but it suddenly takes a dive to the right, eventually pointing straight at pedestrians in a crosswalk. A hedge fund owner shared this clip on Twitter, where many people (rightfully) were aghast at how close the car came to running over pedestrians.

In a follow-up video, Russell made a passing mention about how Tesla “doesn’t want” people in the beta sharing clips that look bad while making a larger point explaining why he posted the video to begin with. But it wasn’t until Vice reported on the NDA this week that it was clear what he meant.

Tesla is using this language to try and control the public perception of its “Full Self-Driving” software as the company starts to open up access to a much wider group — despite the software still being in development. Tesla added a button to the user interface of its cars this past weekend that lets owners request to be a part of the beta. It also launched a “safety score” system, which monitors drivers who apply and evaluates them on a number of metrics, like braking habits or aggressive acceleration.

At the moment, Musk says drivers with a perfect safety score of 100 will be accepted into the beta, though he tweeted that Tesla will lower that bar. He also said Tesla will soon start adding up to 1,000 new owners per day to the beta, a dramatic expansion of who will be able to test the driver assistance software out on public roads.

Expanding access is sure to bring even more attention to Tesla and Musk’s patchwork approach to rolling out the “Full Self-Driving” software. In fact, it already has. Last week, National Transportation Safety Board chair Jennifer Homendy told the Wall Street Journal that she wished the company would address “basic safety issues” before allowing new owners into the program. Homendy was one of the more outspoken board members during a 2020 hearing that found Autopilot to be partially at fault for the 2018 death of a driver in Mountain View, California.

Tesla doesn’t appear to be changing course, though. Over the weekend, in response to a blog post about her comments, Musk tweeted a link to Homendy’s Wikipedia page — which eventually had to be locked after a sudden rush of edits.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Two hours ago Not just you

E
Twitter
Emma RothTwo hours ago
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.


E
Twitter
Emma Roth8:01 PM UTC
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.


E
External Link
Emma Roth5:52 PM UTC
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.


E
External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
A
Youtube
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.


A
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


T
Twitter
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.