Tesla Is Hiring Test Drivers to Try and Take ‘Full Self Driving’ Out of Beta

Tesla Is Hiring Test Drivers to Try and Take ‘Full Self Driving’ Out of Beta

Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter with a classically off-the-cuff announcement: The next version of the company’s error-ridden, untrustworthy, and downright dangerous “Full Self-Driving” software beta wouldn’t be a beta at all — it would be a full, stable release. This came as a shock to anyone watching FSD’s development, who can clearly tell that the software isn’t ready for prime time, but it appears to have been a surprise on Tesla’s end too: The company is now hiring a slew of test drivers for a three-month summer stint training the FSD software.

New Glassdoor job postings from Tesla in the U.S., as spotted by Electrek, show that the company is looking for “Vehicle Operators” for three-month temporary gigs. The job is focused on data collection, helping to teach Tesla’s software how to drive a car — y’know, the kind of core functionality that you’re only supposed to refine immediately before software comes out of beta.

Now, to be fair, “operating a vehicle” is supposed to be FSD’s whole deal. It’s not absurd for Tesla to hire more testers and collect more data, in advance of a full release. What is absurd, however, is only building up that data collection capacity after the announcement of a stable release — not beforehand, which would give engineers more time to parse through the information and apply changes to the software.

Even better, Tesla could have done this from the beginning — use internal test drivers, rather than relying on its customers (and all other drivers on the road near them) as guinea pigs with its “beta” scheme. Sure that’s a slower process, one that trades the quantity of data ingested for experimental control and safety of those involved, but it’s also a responsible approach. Not very disruptiano, I know, but it’s an approach to software development that Tesla no longer seems to be against. Why not do it from the start?

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