Electric Cars

In a series of tweets today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk talked about future plans for Tesla’s Full Self-Driving capability.  Notably, three weeks from now on November 1, Tesla will go through with a planned price increase for Full Self Driving software, increasing the price by $1,000.

The software currently costs $6,000 as an option on any Tesla vehicle.  This cost will rise to $7,000 at the end of this month.

Despite the name, the “Full Self Driving” package does not make any Tesla car actually capable of driving itself with no human intervention.  That capability is expected to be rolled out over the course of the coming years.

Tesla’s Full Self Driving option has received a lot of changes over the course of the last year.  Previously there was a differentiation between “Enhanced Autopilot” and “Full Self Driving” packages, but now Tesla unbundled some Enhanced Autopilot features to make them standard, and wrapped the rest of the features into the Full Self Driving package.  Tesla describes the differences between the features on their website here.

This price increase follows the recent release of Tesla’s “Smart Summon” feature as part of the new V10 software.  With this feature, owners can open the Tesla app and have their car come to them across a parking lot or other non-public road area, navigating at low speeds with no driver.

Tesla has committed to gradual price increases as more software capabilities get rolled out.  Earlier this year, Tesla planned to increase the price in August, then postponed that increase until after the release of smart summon.  Since smart summon is now out, Tesla is going forward with the promised increase.

In the long term, Musk has even stated that Tesla plans to stop selling cars at consumer-accessible prices once self-driving is solved, as he believes it will be more profitable for the company to run cars as taxis than to sell them to end customers.

This all relies on the implementation of the Tesla Network, Tesla’s planned self-driving robotaxi fleet which owners will be able to participate in.  Musk thinks that owners will be able to make a career out of managing a fleet of robotaxis:

Tesla Network is not currently implemented, and we don’t have a solid timeline on when it will be implemented (though Tesla says they want to release a tesla network electrek.co prior to the robotaxi rollout).  Tesla does keep moving forward on driver-assist features, but nothing the cars can do today can truly be called “self-driving.”

Musk also talked about the promised “Hardware 3.0” upgrade, to install Tesla’s new “FSD Computer” into cars which have purchased Full Self Driving.  The hardware inside these cars is not currently capable of running Tesla’s future self-driving software, but Tesla has engineered a much more capable computer to allow for eventual advances.

Tesla recently started installing these retrofits in some cars, but it will take some time to get around to every car.  Today, Musk mentioned the logistic problems involved with upgrading tens of thousands of cars without putting undue stress on Tesla’s already-overtaxed service centers:

Given that these computers don’t actually provide a tangible benefit in current cars yet, it’s no big deal to have to wait.  Their enhanced computing power is not yet being used by the Full Self Driving system, since that software isn’t even enabled yet.  So owners will have to wait patiently, and Tesla will reach out when these computers are available.

Finally, Musk also hinted at an upcoming release.  Autopilot currently cannot read street signs and traffic lights, though we know that the software is capable of distinguishing them.  Some hackers have even managed to enable a development feature which enables cars to stop at stop lights on their own.

When asked by one tweeter for word on when the car will have this capability in public release, Musk had a simple reply:

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