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Tesla wants hundreds of employees testing full self-driving, offers free Autopilot upgrades with new purchases

Tesla is currently working on its self-driving program by leveraging their work on Autopilot and the data gathered through its fleet.

Now the automaker is turning to its employees to help test their driving technology.

In an email to employees obtained by Electrek, CEO Elon Musk said that they need “100-200 employees to test Tesla’s self-driving technology.”

The CEO says that they are offering free Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability package upgrades (worth between $5,000 and $10,000) and premium interior packages to employees buying new cars.

In exchange, employees need to commit to sharing hundreds of hour of driving feedback.

Tesla already has a program for employees and some customers to access new software before a wider release and they give feedback to improve the system, but now it sounds like Tesla wants to expand it significantly with employees.

It comes as the company is releasing its version 9 firmware, which includes new Autopilot features.

The automaker has been far behind its development schedule for the Autopilot program since the release of the second generation hardware back in 2016.

With the new firmware, Tesla is expected to start the transition between Enhanced Autopilot and ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’, which could explain why it is seeking the help of employees to test it.

Earlier this year, Musk said that “self-driving will encompass all modes of driving by the end of next year”.

Electrek’s Take

Elon has been talking about owners starting to see differences between Enhanced Autopilot and ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ after version 9.

It sounds like those employees as part of the program are going to test that.

To be clear, Elon’s email made it sound like they would test software released under the regular ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ package and not necessarily a development build or beta build like the early access program.

I think it’s a good sign toward the development of Autopilot, which has been relatively slow in the last year.

Between that and version 9, I think current Autopilot HW2.0+ have something to look forward to.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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