Tesla Fires Employee Who Posted “Full Self-Driving” Collision

Bloomberg reports, “Tesla Fired Worker Who Posted YouTube Video of FSD Accident”.

Tesla Inc. terminated an employee six days after he posted a YouTube video of his car running into a traffic pylon while using Full Self-Driving, or FSD, the carmaker’s controversial driver-assistance system.

John Bernal, who worked on the data-annotation team for Tesla’s Autopilot system, received a separation agreement from the company on Feb. 11, just under a week after he posted a video that now has more than 180,000 views. About 3 1/2 minutes in, Bernal’s Model 3 makes a right turn too sharply and runs into a green pylon separating a road and bike lane in downtown San Jose, California.

Here is the video. The collision occurs at the 3:30 mark.

Bernal, 26, said in a phone interview that while his manager refused to put the reason for his firing in writing, he was told it was in part due to improper use of FSD. Tesla said in January the beta software was running on almost 60,000 vehicles in the U.S.

The carmaker, which disbanded its public relations department in 2020, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

At 2:40 in the video, the car does a rolling right turn against a red light which appears to be in violation of California’s rules for turns:

Right turn against a red traffic signal light – Signal and stop for a red traffic signal light at the marked limit line. If there is no limit line, stop before entering the crosswalk. If there is no crosswalk, stop before entering the intersection. You may turn right if there is no sign to prohibit the turn. Yield to pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists, or other vehicles moving on their green traffic signal light.

There is an exception for turning into a dedicated lane for right turns, but that does not appear to be the case here.

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Here is a frame-by-frame step-through of the accident commented by Bernal, showing when he reacted to the impending collision and when the autopilot disconnected in response.

Watching this, I don’t think I would have taken that corner anywhere near as fast as “full self-driving” did.

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That is consistent with many FSD videos I’ve seen. Drivers say that Tesla is going faster than or surprisingly nearly as fast as they would have driven themselves.

In contrast, I have not used the radar cruise control in my car for a long time because it is so timid. It leaves too large a gap to be useful in even very light highway traffic.

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