Elon Musk lets beta test autonomous driving, but not criticize it

Elon Musk apparently didn’t appreciate a user of Tesla’s latest version of Full Self-Driving making a public criticism of it on Twitter. He responded with a short tweet, which says a lot despite everything.

Elon Musk is a fervent defender of freedom of expression, especially on Twitter. Finally, except when it concerns criticism of its products. A youtubeur and fan of the brand was called to order by Elon Musk himself in a tweet, spotted Electrek on August 24, 2022. The reason? He had posted a review about the self-driving car he is currently testing. If we can partly understand the substance of Elon Musk’s remark, the form is really not there, and can shock.

This is not the first time that Tesla drivers selected to test autonomous driving, called Full Self-Driving (FSD), find themselves torn at the idea of ​​criticizing the product. The main threat hanging over them is that they will be deprived of access to Full Self-Driving. Many therefore censor themselves in order to retain this privilege.

1,000 Drivers Test Tesla Autonomous Driving V10.69

To put it into context, there are currently 1,000 Tesla drivers who have access to the first version of the latest big evolution of the autonomous driving system. They have been testing this V10.69 version for just under a week. The vast majority of testers are Tesla staff. However, some customers, and in particular several youtubers who are fans of the brand, have had access to this new version.

This first version should be used to refine the car’s decision-making and correct some errors. Then, a version 10.69.1 will be sent to a slightly wider panel, before a version v10.69.2 is made available to all Tesla owners who have access to this FSD autonomous driving option, i.e. approximately 100,000 drivers of Tesla to date.

Testing of FSD v10.69 by early testers. // Source: Video extract from James Locke on Youtube

The tested version may therefore contain errors, all testers are aware of this. Youtubers, having access to this beta, have flooded the web with videos of their various experiments. We looked at more than a dozen of them, and all the testers essentially showcase the progress the system has made. Including James Locke, of whom we had also shared a video, to accompany the announcement of the increase in the price of the FSD option.

Too much criticism for Elon Musk?

James Locke published no less than 7 videos on the subject in 3 days, to present all the progress, but it was a remark on Twitter that particularly made Elon Musk react on August 23.

In his Twitter messages, James Locke somewhat criticizes the Tesla teams for having focused too much on solving complex situations – such as turning left in an intersection not secured by traffic lights or stop signs -, forgetting to correct much more mundane situations, where the car does not take the right lane to turn right, for example. He adds that as it stands, it seems premature to him to increase the price of the FSD option from $12,000 to $15,000.

This does not seem to have pleased Elon Musk, who replied to the tweet 90 minutes later. According to Musk, it is normal that the beta version is still limited. He replies that it was James Locke who requested to be part of the beta program, and therefore he has no complaints. Elon Musk then tried to clarify his point by stating that James Locke approached Tesla to join the beta, that Tesla had agreed to include him and that he did not have to be ungrateful by openly criticizing the progress of driving. autonomous.

A rather awkward situation

Elon Musk’s clarification is far from convincing. James Locke apologized anyway, but for outside observers, the scene is disturbing. Admittedly, James Locke made a public criticism that may seem awkward, even unwelcome. Nevertheless, the criticism was constructive and rather good to take. These brand fans naturally seek to speak well of Tesla. They are ready to do anything to justify or demonstrate that Tesla is doing things right against the critics of the American manufacturer.

Remember, these testers (apart from Tesla employees) are not paid by the brand for what they do and produce on social networks. On the contrary: they themselves paid to have the option on their Tesla. They just had the “privilege” of accessing a preview. The least we could do would be to accept that they have free will, which allows them to positively or negatively criticize what they have the opportunity to test, in order to improve the service.

ELon Musk Tesla Roadster
Elon Musk. // Source: YouTube screenshot

Autonomous driving testers are therefore encouraged to report their problems to the Tesla teams. The fact remains that Elon Musk’s answer seems quite cheeky, once again. It is, alas, in the image of the character to advocate freedom of expression on Twitter, to bully it elsewhere.

Leave a Comment