After nearly 12 months of real-world testing, Tesla’s first batch of ~2,000 FSD Beta testers have not recorded a single accident. But in a recent expose from VICE, the publication revealed that participants in the beta program are currently required to sign a nondisclosure agreement. This, according to the publication, helps the company protect itself from critics.
Elon Musk’s recent comments at the 2021 Code Conference suggest that this is not necessarily the case. During a Q&A session with the event’s attendees, Musk was asked why Tesla requires members of its FSD Beta program to sign nondisclosure agreements. While an NDA does make sense since participants in the program are using a version of the company’s proprietary driver-assist system that would likely not be released to consumers, Elon Musk was quite direct in his response.
According to Musk, he personally does not really know why there is an NDA with the Full Self-Driving Beta program. And if it’s up to him, Musk noted that Tesla probably should not have NDAs since most participants seem to ignore them anyway. “Yeah, I don’t know why there’s an NDA. We probably don’t need it. I feel like we’ll just be ignoring it anyway, so I don’t think it matters,” Musk said.
Musk’s statement is quite accurate. Since the start of the FSD Beta program in October 2020, large numbers of videos featuring both successes and failures of the advanced driver-assist system have been posted online. Some of these are so extreme that they show only the failures of FSD Beta, and they have not been taken down. With this in mind, the idea that Tesla requires FSD Beta participants to only show what’s positive with the Full Self-Driving Beta program does not really pass the smell test.
Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta is expected to be expanded soon. This past weekend, the company formally rolled out its “Request FSD Beta” button, which allows drivers to queue for access to the advanced driver-assist system before the suite is rolled out to consumers. Tesla also launched its Safety Score system, which provides drivers a near real-time evaluation of how careful they are on the road.
As per Elon Musk on Twitter, only drivers with the highest Safety Scores would be allowed access to FSD Beta, at least when the program’s expansion begins. For the first few days of the expanded FSD Beta program, Musk noted that probably only drivers with a Safety Score rating of 100 would be granted access to the advanced driver-assist system. This threshold would later be adjusted to drivers with a Safety Score of 99, then 98, and so forth.
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