Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a 25% price increase on Sunday for the company’s premium driver assistance system, marketed under the name Full Self-Driving, or FSD. The price will rise to $15,000, from $12,000 on Sept. 5, Musk said in a tweet.
Today, Tesla charges customers $12,000 upfront for FSD, or $199 per month on a subscription basis.
Musk did not immediately report an increase in the cost of FSD subscriptions and Tesla did not respond to a request for further information.
All new Tesla vehicles come with a standard driver assistance package called Autopilot, which includes features such as “Traffic-Aware Cruise Control” and “Autosteer”. These rely on cameras, other sensors, hardware and software to automatically keep a Tesla vehicle in the middle of its lane and move at the speed of the surrounding traffic.
Tesla’s best-priced driver assistance option, FSD, includes what the company calls “Traffic and Stop Sign Control” and “Navigate on Autopilot.”
These more advanced features are intended to allow Tesla cars to automatically detect and slow down traffic signs and signals; navigate from driveway to highway exit while turning on the turn signals; make lane changes and take exits.
Tesla is telling drivers to stay vigilant and be prepared to take over the steering and braking of their car 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 to call their car from a parking spot and drive slowly, without anyone behind the wheel, to where they are standing.
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 expected to achieve a high “Safety Score” from Tesla to gain and maintain access to the system.
Tesla’s approach has received both criticism and regulatory oversight from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
Still, the company is going ahead with a limited release of the latest version of FSD Beta, for a relatively small group of users, Musk also tweeted on Sunday.
Previously, he wrote on Twitter: “There are a lot of major code changes, so this will be an extra cautious rollout. Release on 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 & release for the rest of FSD Beta.”
Owners who gain access to FSD Beta can send feedback to the company through their car when the system fails or falters. Tesla previously said 100,000 drivers had already installed FSD Beta.
Tesla plans to make FSD Beta even more mainstream.
At Tesla’s 2022 Annual Shareholders Meeting on Aug. 4, Musk said FSD Beta will be available to anyone who requests it by the end of this year. Here’s a quote from Thomson Financial’s transcript of the meeting:
“We are still very much on track to have a widespread implementation of FSD Beta in North America this year. So I should really say that FSD will be available to anyone who requests it by the end of this year.”
Among those receiving the limited release update this weekend, many social media followers are following influencers who sell Tesla merchandise and display ad-supported videos on YouTube channels where they watch the latest releases from Tesla and more.
Since 2016, the NHTSA has opened 38 investigations into collisions involving a Tesla vehicle, involving driver assistance systems, including Autopilot and more advanced systems. Nineteen fatalities were reported as part of the Tesla-related collisions under investigation.
Separately, California DMV recently accused Tesla of deceptive marketing practices regarding the features in its vehicles, and 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 per day where human drivers accidentally press the accelerator pedal at 100% instead of the brakes.” Tesla generally does not make data about its systems available to outside investigators to confirm its claims.