Tesla on the hunt for self-driving car test drivers around the world

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Words: Matthew Hansen
11 Jun 2021

Tesla’s Autopilot level 2 autonomous system and Full Self Driving system (aspiring to level 5 heights) are two of the most discussed and debated fixtures of the modern motoring world. But, very little chat has actually been made about the people putting themselves in the literal hot seat to make these innovations happen; the test drivers.

Tesla has a band of self-driving car test drivers across the US, each sitting in the car in the driver’s seat while overseeing the system’s decisions in real time.

The American electric car giant has confirmed that it’s looking to take this testing beyond America’s borders via multiple job listings posted around the world asking for Tesla Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) operators.

On top of renewed recruitment of ADAS operators in the US, Tesla has also advertised that it’s looking to hire operators in Paris in France, Milan in Italy, Barcelona in Spain, and Toronto in Canada.

Those applying for the position don’t exactly need to be rocket scientists. “We are looking for a highly motivated individual to accelerate our vehicle-level testing for all current and future Autopilot features on the path to full self-driving,” says the job listing.

The news comes as Tesla executes a fairly significant shake-up in its software for Autopilot. In particular, it’s just recently decided to phase out the radar-based element of the level 2 system, replacing it with a camera-based system it’s calling ‘Tesla Vision’.

“We are continuing the transition to Tesla Vision, our camera-based Autopilot system. Beginning with deliveries in May 2021, Model 3 and Model Y vehicles built for the North American market will no longer be equipped with radar,” it said in a statement last month.

“Instead, these will be the first Tesla vehicles to rely on camera vision and neural net processing to deliver Autopilot, Full-Self Driving, and certain active safety features. Customers who ordered before May 2021 and are matched to a car with Tesla Vision will be notified of the change through their Tesla Accounts prior to delivery.”

Sadly, for the moment New Zealanders aren’t being recruited for ADAS operator roles. And that’s a shame. It’d be fun to show a Tesla through the confines of Scenic Drive, or along the undulations of the Forgotten Highway.

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