Tesla Full-Self Driving Software: Price going up again

Tesla’s raising the expense of its Full-Self Driving (FSD) software to $15,000. Tesla CEO Elon Musk disclosed that the new price would go into effect in North America beginning September 5th, representing a $3,000 jump, in a post on Twitter.

Drivers who order an automobile before September 5th won’t have to pay the newly-increased price, Musk states. The price hike comes as Tesla starts rolling out FSD beta 10.69 to drivers, a version Musk calls “a big step forward.”

It’s still ambiguous whether Tesla plans on raising the cost of its FSD subscription, which presently costs $199 per month.

The FSD software allows drivers to use Tesla’s advanced driving assistance system (ADAS), Autopilot, to guide them to and from specific destinations, among other driver-assist features. However, FSD doesn’t make an auto fully autonomous; it requires drivers always to hold their hands on the wheel and pay heed to the road.

ADAS systems, or advanced driver-assistance systems, are electronic systems in a vehicle that use advanced technologies to assist the driver. They can help to prevent accidents by detecting nearby obstacles or driver errors, and responding accordingly. Some common ADAS systems include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring. ADAS systems are becoming increasingly common in vehicles, as they can help to improve safety and reduce traffic fatalities.

Tesla’s FSD beta price has slowly grown over the years, costing $5,000 upon launch. But when Tesla began rolling out the FSD beta to an elite group of clients in October 2020, it upped the cost to $10,000. Then, in September 2021, Tesla began opening the beta to more customers thru a new “request” button before raising the price to $12,000 earlier this year.

In 2019, Musk named Tesla vehicles “appreciating assets,” meaning they’ll increase in value as Tesla projects additional driver-assist features. Musk later argued that “the value of FSD” could reach over $100,000 “as the software gets closer to full self-driving capability with regulatory approval.”

Earlier this month, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) accused Tesla of making “untrue or misleading claims” about its vehicles’ self-driving capabilities. The DMV alleges that the names Autopilot and FSD and the language Tesla uses to represent them could deceive users into thinking that automobiles can operate autonomously.

Last August, Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate how Tesla advertises its FSD and Autopilot software. The two legislators later sent a note to Musk to “express significant concerns” about Tesla’s driver-assist system. Tesla replied that its system can help customers “drive safer than the average driver in the U.S.”

Tesla Autopilot is a suite of the advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) features suggested by Tesla that amounts to SAE International Level 2 automobile automation. Its characteristics are:

  • Semi-autonomous navigation on limited access freeways.
  • Lane centering.
  • Automatic lane changes.
  • Self-parking.
  • Traffic-aware cruise control.
  • The ability to call the car from a garage or parking location.

With all these features, the driver is responsible, and the car needs constant supervision.

The company declares the features reduce accidents caused by driver negligence and exhaustion from long-term driving. In October 2020, Consumer Reports dubbed Tesla Autopilot “a distant second” in driver assistance systems, although it was rated first in the “Capabilities and Performance” and “Ease of Use” classes. Collisions and deaths regarding Tesla cars with Autopilot encountered have drawn the attention of the press and government mechanisms.

As an upgrade to the Autopilot abilities, the company intends to deliver total autonomous driving (SAE Level 5) at a future time, recognizing that regulatory and technical limitations must be overcome to achieve this goal. However, from 2016 through 2022, Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, has frequently made inaccurate predictions as to when Tesla would be able to accomplish SAE Level 5 autonomy. In addition, as of April 2019, some professionals criticized Tesla vehicles’ lack of lidar, which other companies employ in autonomous driving.

In October 2020, Tesla initiated, and commissioned customers for, a Full Self-Driving beta program in the United States; as of April 2022, Tesla has over 100,000 people in this program. However, some industry watchers criticized Tesla’s decision to use untrained consumers to validate the beta software as dangerous and irresponsible. In May 2021, Tesla last for strategy and execution in the autonomous driving sector by Guidehouse Insights.