Tesla wants all its new cars equipped with the hardware to enable them to drive autonomously whenever it releases the needed software, possibly in five to ten years. The company is not charging any money for the hardware, but for those who want to use it, it will definitely burn a hole in their pocket, reports The Verge.
Giving away free hardware, but will charge to use it
Tesla has valued the hardware at $8,000, and customers who wish to unlock it later are required to pay $10,000. Buyers of the Model X and the Model S will be required to pay $5,000 if they wish to equip their cars with the new “Enhanced Autopilot” system, which will basically be a more advanced version of the current Autopilot system, notes The Verge.
Customers who choose to get it enabled after delivery will have to pay $6,000 for it. The company said the new system will be able to match the car’s speed to traffic conditions, drive from one freeway to another, automatically change lanes without driver input and even exit the freeway when the destination is near.
Another add-on is “Full Self-Driving Capability,” which can be purchased for $3,000 at delivery or for $4,000 later. Enhanced Autopilot is a must for it, and it will enable the car to drive itself in all conditions, said Tesla. The car will become capable of driving itself to the destination, no matter where it is.
Also it will be able to determine the optimal route and handle everything from stop signs and traffic lights to roundabouts and streets without lane markings. After this, the vehicle will drop the driver at his\her destination and park itself after finding a suitable spot.
Tesla “Autopilot” an inappropriate term
All this does sound great, but experts disagree about the time when the company will actually be able to make that sort of capability available to the public, according to The Verge. CEO Elon Musk believes it to be available within two or three years, but many experts think it is quite far off, like five to ten years or so.
Returning to the present, Tesla’s Autopilot is facing some challenges. Already some European regulators were examining whether the usage of the term “Autopilot” for Tesla’s driver-assist feature is appropriate or not due to safety concerns. Now Reuters says that the term, which got approval from the Dutch Road Traffic Service (RDW) last year, is under reconsideration there now.
The problem with the term, according to some regulators, is that it implies that the driver does not need to pay attention while the Autopilot is engaged. However, Tesla argues that it has already informed its customers that the system is in its beta form and doesn’t replace good ol’ driver engagement.