Report: Tesla Employees Prioritized Testing Resources for CEO Musk and Influencers


Despite all the regulatory flak, Tesla’s advanced driver assistance technologies are popular with owners, and there is no shortage of internet influencers with heavily-produced videos singing their praises. A new report from Business Insider (BI) suggests that those influencers and some of the company’s executives may have received preferential treatment during those “tests,” as the automaker may have assigned a higher level of human scrutiny to their routes over those of the general public.

Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) features can be helpful in taking the load off of human drivers in some situations, but the company employs several real, breathing people behind the scenes to review camera footage and help keep things in check. According to the BI report, those data annotators paid extra-close attention to the systems when CEO Elon Musk or one of the small army of influencers were behind the wheel, potentially draining resources from monitoring the driving habits of everyone else.

Sources said the annotators were told to heavily monitor Tesla usage around specific locations, such as around Twitter’s HQ in San Francisco when Musk bought the company. The workers, who were usually judged on the volume of data they could process, were told to take extra care and time with Musk’s vehicles.

Tesla’s annotators were also told to monitor influencers’ videos, focusing heavily on people the company thought could post opinions on its software’s functionality. Some said they’d been told they were working on “VIP data,” noting that they would focus on their home areas and routes they were most likely to take during testing.

[Images: Shutterstock and Tesla]

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