Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Sunday announced a 25% price increase for the company’s premium driver assistance system, marketed under the name Full Self-Driving, or FSD. The price will increase to $15,000 from $12,000 on September 5, Musk said in a tweet.
Today, Tesla charges customers $12,000 up front for FSD, or $199 per month on a subscription basis.
Musk did not immediately mention an increase in the cost of FSD subscriptions, and Tesla did not respond to a request for additional information.
All new Tesla vehicles come with a standard driver assistance package called Autopilot, which includes features such as “Traffic-Aware Cruise Control”[ads1]; and “Autosteer.” These rely on cameras, other sensors, hardware and software to automatically keep a Tesla vehicle centered in its lane and traveling at the speed of surrounding traffic.
Tesla’s highest-priced driver assistance option, FSD, includes what the company calls “Traffic and Stop Sign Control” and “Navigate on Autopilot” among its features.
These more advanced features are intended to allow Tesla cars to automatically detect and brake for traffic signs and signals; navigate from freeway on-ramp to off-ramp while activating turn signals; make lane changes and take exits.
Tesla is asking drivers to be alert and be prepared to take over their cars’ steering and braking at any time while using Autopilot or FSD. The technology does not make Tesla vehicles autonomous.
A Tesla feature called Smart Summon allows drivers to use a smartphone and Tesla mobile app as a remote control to summon the car from across a parking lot and slowly drive, without anyone behind the wheel, to where they stand.
While some FSD features are also included in a cheaper option called Enhanced Autopilot, or EAP, only Tesla customers who purchase or subscribe to the premium option can request access to FSD Beta, an experimental version of Tesla’s system.
FSD Beta users are supposed to receive a high “Safety Score” from Tesla to gain and maintain access to the system.
Tesla’s approach has drawn criticism and regulatory scrutiny from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
Still, the company is going ahead and making a limited release of the latest version of FSD Beta, to a relatively small group of users, Musk also tweeted on Sunday.
Earlier, he wrote on Twitter, “There are a lot of big code changes, so this will be an extra cautious rollout. Release 8/20 to ~1000 Tesla owners, then 10.69.1 next week to accommodate feedback and release to ~10k customers.” then 10.69.2 week after and release to rest of FSD Beta.”
Owners who gain access to FSD Beta can send feedback to the company via their cars when the system fails or behaves incorrectly. Tesla previously said that 100,000 drivers had already installed the FSD Beta.
Tesla plans to make FSD Beta even more mainstream.
At the Tesla 2022 shareholder meeting on August 4, Musk said that the FSD Beta will be available to anyone who requests it by the end of this year. Here is a quote from Thomson Financial’s transcript of the meeting:
“We’re still very much on track to have widespread deployment of FSD Beta this year in North America. So I should say basically, FSD will be available to anyone who requests it by the end of this year.”
Among those receiving the limited release update this weekend are widely followed social media influencers who sell Tesla merchandise and run ad-supported videos on YouTube channels where they review Tesla’s latest releases and more.
Since 2016, NHTSA has opened 38 probes into crashes involving a Tesla vehicle in which driver assistance systems including Autopilot and more advanced systems were believed to be a factor. Nineteen deaths were reported as part of the Tesla-involved collisions that were investigated.
Separately, California’s DMV recently accused Tesla of deceptive marketing practices regarding the features of the vehicles, and it is conducting a technical review of Tesla’s systems including FSD Beta.
Ashok Elluswamy, Tesla’s director of Autopilot software, said on Twitter this weekend that “Autopilot prevents ~40 crashes/day where human drivers mistakenly hit the gas pedal at 100% instead of the brakes.” Tesla typically does not make data about its systems available to third-party researchers to verify its claims.