Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Sunday announced a 25% price increase for the company’s premium driver assistance system, which is marketed under the name Full Self-Driving, or FSD. The price will increase 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 mention 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 like “Traffic-Aware Cruise Control” 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 let Tesla cars automatically detect and slow down for traffic signs and signals; navigate from highway on-ramp to off-ramp while engaging turn signals; make lane changes and take exits.
Tesla tells drivers to remain attentive and be prepared to take over their cars’ steering and braking at any time while using Autopilot or FSD. Its technology does not make Tesla vehicles autonomous.
One Tesla feature called Smart Summon allows drivers to use a smartphone and Tesla mobile app like a remote control to call their car from across a parking lot and slowly drive, without anyone behind the wheel, to where they are standing.
While some FSD features are also included in a lower-priced option called Enhanced Autopilot, or EAP, only Tesla customers who buy 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 obtain a high “Safety Score” from Tesla to get and maintain access to the system.
Tesla’s approach has drawn criticism and regulatory scrutiny from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Department of Motor Vehicles alike.
Still, the company is forging ahead and doing a limited release of the latest version of FSD Beta, to a relatively small pool of users, Musk also tweeted on Sunday.
Earlier, he wrote on Twitter, “There are many major code changes, so this will be an extra cautious rollout. Releasing on 8/20 to ~1000 Tesla owners, then 10.69.1 next week to accommodate feedback & release to ~10k customers, then 10.69.2 week after & release to rest of FSD Beta.”
On Sunday, he added: Owners who gain access to FSD Beta are able to send feedback to the company via their cars when the system fails or acts glitchy. Tesla previously said 100,000 drivers had already installed FSD Beta.
Tesla is planning to make FSD Beta even more mainstream.
At the Tesla 2022 Annual Shareholder Meeting on August 4, Musk said that 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’re still tracking very much 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 who are 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, the NHTSA has opened 38 probes into collisions that involved a Tesla vehicle where driver assistance systems including Autopilot and more advanced systems were thought to be a factor. Nineteen fatalities were reported as part of those Tesla-involved collisions under investigation.
Separately, California’s DMV recently accused Tesla of deceptive marketing practices with regard to the features in its 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 press the accelerator at 100% instead of the brakes.” Tesla generally does not make data about its systems available to third-party researchers for confirmation of its claims.