Tesla is, without a doubt, one of the most controversial and unique brands in the auto industry. However, nothings split opinions quite like Tesla’s claimed Full Self-Driving option. The brand is selling the optional pack despite it not being fully usable on the streets for starters. To add insult to injury, the previous $8,000 premium for the unusable tech has now been bumped up to $10,000. According to MotorTrend, Full Self-Driving is currently undergoing beta testing.
Why would I give Tesla $10,000 for a feature I can’t use?
Once you select your new Tesla’s interior color on their online configurator, you’re faced with the option of selecting the Full Self-Driving option. According to the brand’s online configurator, this option includes: automatic driving from highway on-ramp to off-ramp, automatic lane changes while driving on the highway, and assisted stops at traffic controlled intersections. Additionally, a small note just above the $10,000 price tag states that Autosteer on city streets is an upcoming feature.
That’s where most of the controversy starts. While the system’s name might suggest that your Tesla will drive itself, it currently cannot. Before the pitchforks come out, this is Tesla’s exact description of the system “The currently enabled features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”
We’re talking about purchasing a feature before it’s actually usable and hoping that it will be available soon. If Tesla’s tech has your mind made up, there is only one somewhat compelling reason why you’ll want to fork over the money now. On the same configurator page, Tesla states that “prices are likely to increase over time with new feature releases.” meaning this recent $2,000 bump is likely not the last.
When will Full Self-Driving be available?
According to MotorTrend, Tesla is currently beta-testing its Full Self-Driving system with a small batch of cars in select cities. Additionally, the brand is very carefully monitoring those vehicles. As of writing, there is no official timeline as to when the system will be available. This is likely since its on-road beta testing has just begun.
Aside from the technical hurdles, the self-driving system likely faces a decent legal battle as well. Since this is a new technology, the government will most likely want to ensure its safety before allowing it to become widely available to the public. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is closely watching its development, threatening to pull the plug if it becomes too dangerous for public roads.
As a result, it could take Tesla years to release its Full Self-Driving Capabilities. At which point, you most likely won’t be driving the same car you spent an extra $10,000 on.
Insurance rates could become a major factor as well
Nothing scares an insurance company more than a fleet of Full Self-Driving equipped Teslas. Given the potential lack of driver input, an important question of responsibility pops up. Insurance companies will have to determine if it’s worth insuring cars that aren’t driven exclusively by humans. In the case of an autonomous accident, it remains to be seen who the blame will fall on.
Additionally, if they decide to play ball, insurance rates could potentially skyrocket. In the end, while the initial $10,000 figure is quite shocking, there are other underlying hurdles Tesla’s newest system will have to overcome before it becomes widely available.