Elon Musk said it’s ‘debatable’ whether it’s worth paying $199 for Tesla’s ‘Full Self-Driving’ subscription

Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a black suit walks on stage in front of an image of a Model Y vehicle
Tesla CEO Elon Musk walks in front of a Model Y image in Shanghai.

  • Elon Musk discussed Tesla’s new Full Self-Driving (FSD) subscription in the company’s earnings call.
  • Musk said it was “debatable” whether it’s worth paying the subscription right now.
  • He said people subscribing to FSD, which doesn’t make your Tesla autonomous, were “betting on the future.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Elon Musk says it’s “debatable” whether Tesla’s new “Full Self Driving” (FSD) subscription is worth paying for.

Tesla announced last week it would let customers purchase FSD with a $199 monthly subscription, rather than paying $10,000 up front when they buy their vehicle, which was the only option before.

During the company’s earnings call on Monday, Musk said: “We need to make Full Self-Driving work in order for it to be a compelling value proposition.”

He added customers were essentially “betting on the future” by buying the subscription because FSD is not yet widespread.

“Right now, does it make sense for somebody to do FSD subscription? I think it’s debatable. But once we have Full Self-Driving widely deployed, then the value proposition will be clear,” Musk said.

He was answering a question from an analyst about the subscription’s pricing.

FSD does not make Tesla cars fully autonomous – rather, it adds various driver-assistance features. Tesla says drivers must stay fully attentive with their hands on the wheel while FSD is enabled. The company warned on July 10, following the release of FSD’s most recent software update, that the vehicle may do the “wrong thing at the worst time.”

Read more: Tesla and China dominate electric vehicles right now but Europe is the place to watch. Meet its 10 most important innovators and investors.

Earlier in the call, Musk said the company expected FSD to “build slowly” but gather “a lot of momentum over time.” This is more cautious than some of his previous predictions.

In July 2020, Musk told a conference in Shanghai Tesla would have the “basic functionality” for truly autonomous vehicles by the end of that year. In April 2019, Musk also said the company would put 1 million autonomous “robotaxis” on the road in 2020 – the company has yet to release any.

In July 2021 Musk tweeted that building a fully autonomous car had turned out to be harder than he expected.

Tesla’s FSD, along with its more rudimentary Autopilot system, have come under public scrutiny over safety concerns. Musk said in April that a Tesla on Autopilot mode was 10 times less likely to get into an accident than a regular car, although experts told Insider’s Tim Levin that this stat was misleading.

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Tesla knocked $500 off a hardware upgrade for its Full Self Driving subscription after customer backlash, a report says

Tesla Model 3 Hamburg
A Tesla Model 3 (left) and other Tesla models are on display in a Tesla Service Center in Hamburg.

  • Tesla offered customers with older car models a $1,500 hardware upgrade to get “Full Self-Driving.”
  • This provoked backlash – Tesla said in 2016 its cars would come with Full Self-Driving hardware.
  • Tesla appears to have dropped the price to $1,000, Electrek reports.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tesla appears to have dropped the price on a new hardware upgrade for its new Full Self-Driving (FSD) subscription.

Tesla announced on Friday that customers could get its FSD software, which does not make the car fully autonomous, through a $199 monthly subscription rather than paying $10,000 upfront, which was previously the only way to get FSD. The company said it would charge $1,500 to upgrade hardware on older Tesla models to make them FSD-compatible.

This provoked outrage among some Tesla owners: As Electrek noted, the company announced in 2016 all its cars would come with FSD hardware already built in. On Tuesday, some Tesla customers noticed the price for upgrading their FSD hardware had dropped from $1,500 to $1,000.

Two screenshots posted on Reddit, and various screenshots on Twitter, showed that the installation cost had dropped to $1,000 for some customers.

Read more: Rivian-rival Lucid’s CEO thinks the EV industry is due for a brutal shakeout because startups are missing one key ingredient

FSD does not make Teslas fully autonomous, and when the company rolled out its most recent version of the software earlier this month it warned drivers to stay attentive as it could “do the wrong thing at the worst time.”

FSD is the name Tesla gives to its premium driver-assistance software, above its standard “Autopilot” feature. FSD lets drivers remotely summon their cars and change lanes automatically.

Tesla did not immediately respond when contacted by Insider on the reported price reduction.

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Tesla is letting people take out a ‘Full Self-Driving’ subscription for $199 per month

Tesla CEO Elon Musk
Elon Musk.

  • Tesla is offering a new payment method for its Full Self-Driving (FSD) software.
  • Customers can now pay $199 a month, rather than $10,000 upfront.
  • Tesla says customers can cancel their subscription whenever they want.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tesla owners can now subscribe to have the company’s “Full Self-Driving” software in their cars, rather than paying upfront for it, as first reported by Electrek.

Tesla announced the new payment method Saturday, giving customers an alternative to paying $10,000 to have Full Self-Driving included in their car’s capabilities.

Tesla’s website states the subscription is not a long-term commitment and customers can cancel their subscription “at any time.”

As Tesla warns on its subscription page, its Full Self-Driving mode does not make a vehicle fully autonomous. “The currently enabled features require a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any moment,” the company said.

Read more: Meet 9 former Tesla execs who left Elon Musk to become power players at rivals like Apple and Rivian

Tesla rolled out a new beta of its Full Self-Driving software this month. While it’s able to control the car in some situations, it still makes major mistakes. Earlier this month, CEO Elon Musk urged customers to “please be paranoid” when using the feature. In addition, Tesla said it may “do the wrong thing at the worst time.”

Tesla has come under fire for its Autopilot software, which includes Full Self-Driving. It is being sued by the family of a 15-year-old boy who was killed in a car crash where one of the cars was a Tesla with Autopilot enabled. It’s also under scrutiny from lawmakers, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced in June it’s launching an investigation into Autopilot’s role in 30 crashes.

The company attracted particularly intense scrutiny in April after two people died in a fiery Tesla crash and police said no one was behind the wheel. Elon Musk disputed that any Autopilot features were enabled at the time of the crash.

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From swerving into a median to narrowly missing poles, videos of Tesla’s latest Full Self-Driving update don’t inspire much confidence

The interior of a Tesla driving down the highway
Tesla interior

  • Tesla launched the latest version of its Full Self-Driving beta after a long delay this month.
  • Beta testers immediately started posting clips of the driver-assistance system.
  • The software is impressive and advanced, but still gets drivers into dangerous situations.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Earlier this month, Tesla rolled out a long-awaited update to its Full Self-Driving software for beta testers. It’s impressive – but it still doesn’t make cars autonomous.

The electric-vehicle maker first beamed out access to the pre-production tech in October, and it’s now in the hands of a couple thousand loyal Tesla owners. It takes Tesla’s existing driver-assistance system, which is mainly suited for predictable highway driving, and adds the ability to automate driving tasks on more complicated non-highway streets.

Videos of the new-and-improved software in action show that it can impressively navigate some tough driving situations, but there are plenty of dangerous flaws and glitches too.

In one clip, a Tesla confidently handles a tight, unmarked road with an oncoming car. The computer does pretty much exactly what a human would do: slow down and pull over to let the oncoming car go first, then pull forward once it’s clear that the other driver is giving right of way.

Another shows the system navigating stop-and-go traffic:

Another shows that it can see stop signs and make turns on dark – albeit empty – city streets, too. Some videos also show cars stopping for pedestrians and other vehicles.

Read more: Fort Lauderdale asked Elon Musk to build a commuter train tunnel. So how did it end up considering a $30 million beach tunnel for Teslas instead?

But the system still struggles with utterly basic driving tasks, putting drivers and bystanders in dicey situations. In one clip documenting a drive in downtown San Francisco, the car drunkenly swerves into a striped median, forcing the driver to take control.

In the same video, the car stumbles through a left turn and nearly oversteers into a parked car.

In a clip set in Chicago, the car slowly creeps through intersections, comes to random stops, and only notices a road closure at the last second. A bunch of orange barricades is something any average human driver would recognize before actually attempting a turn.

All of these dangerous hiccups show just how far Tesla is from replicating human driving. But one particularly alarming clip out of Seattle takes the cake.

In the nighttime video, the beta fails to recognize the massive concrete columns supporting the city’s monorail – and the car nearly steers into them twice in an attempt to change lanes.

If a highly automated car should be able to do one thing, it’s recognizing large stationary objects and avoid them. But it appears that the car had no idea the pillars were even there, judging by the visualization displayed on the center screen.

The people in the car wonder whether the failure is a result of Tesla shifting to a camera-only system that doesn’t use radar. And that’s certainly a possibility. Car companies, Tesla included, have relied on radar for years for features like emergency braking and cruise control. But Tesla in May decided to stop using the sensors and take them out of its future cars.

Tesla has adopted a fast-and-loose approach to its automated-driving tech that other automakers aren’t taking. And safety advocates have taken issue with Tesla’s strategy of having amateur drivers test unproven technology on public roads. Pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers didn’t sign up to be subjects in this lab experiment, they argue.

But the company is under mounting pressure to deliver a final version of Full Self-Driving to customers, who have shelled out up to $10,000 over the years for the add-on under the promise that it would eventually enable Teslas to drive themselves. It’s increasingly looking like that’s not happening anytime soon.

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Tesla ‘under review’ by California DMV over whether it misleads consumers with ‘full self-driving’ claims

Elon Musk
  • California’s DMV is probing whether Tesla’s “self-driving” claims broke state law, the LA Times first reported.
  • Tesla calls its $10,000 driver-assistance software “full self-driving” – it is not.
  • Amid a number of Tesla crashes, the technology is coming under increasing scrutiny.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles is looking into whether Tesla illegally misleads consumers with its claims about its “full-self driving” technology, the LA Times reported Monday and Insider confirmed.

“DMV has the matter under review,” a DMV spokesperson told Insider. “The [state] regulation prohibits a company from advertising vehicles for sale or lease as autonomous unless the vehicle meets the statutory and regulatory definition of an autonomous vehicle and the company holds a deployment permit.”

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

Tesla’s FSD technology, which customers can add to their vehicles for $10,000, gives the vehicle the capability to change lanes, adjust speed, and complete some other maneuvers without assistance from the driver.

It does not make the car fully autonomous, however, according to widely accepted engineering standards, and Tesla’s own website.

But the company, and specifically CEO Elon Musk, have repeatedly made ambitious promises about FSD’s capabilities, only to subsequently push back the timing of new features and tout the claimed safety benefits.

Tesla has faced scrutiny over its driver-assistance features for years. But regulators and lawmakers have been taking an even closer look following Tesla allowing a small group of drivers to test a beta version of its newest FSD features.

The beta sofware has been at the center of several fatal crashes and high-profile traffic violations in recent weeks, prompting inquiries from lawmakers. Yet the company plans to roll out the software more widely even as videos posted by customers continue to show bugs that could pose major risks.

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A man arrested for riding in the backseat of his driverless Tesla got out of jail, bought a new one, and did it again

California Highway Patrol pulls over a Tesla.
California Highway Patrol tows away Param Sharma’s Tesla.

  • A San Francisco man said he’ll keep riding in the back seat of his Tesla after getting arrested for it, KTVU reports.
  • Param Sharma said he is “very rich” and will keep buying Teslas as his cars are impounded.
  • Tesla sells a feature called Full Self-Driving Capability, but it doesn’t make cars autonomous.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A San Francisco man who was arrested for riding in the back seat of his Tesla as it drove on the highway says he’ll keep pulling the stunt after being released from jail – and he’ll keep buying more cars as they get impounded.

After getting booked on two counts of reckless driving, Param Sharma arrived for a Wednesday interview with Bay Area news station KTVU riding in the back seat of a Tesla again. But it wasn’t the same car that California Highway Patrol pulled him over in.

The day after being released from jail on Tuesday, he told the channel, Sharma bought a new Tesla Model 3 because his other was impounded. Also, he is “very rich,” he told KTVU.

“I have unlimited money to blow on Teslas. If you take away my Tesla, I will get another Tesla. That’s how it works,” Sharma said.

The California Highway Patrol said Tuesday it had arrested Sharma for reckless driving and disobeying a peace officer. The arrest came after videos circulated online of Sharma riding down the highway in the back seat. He had been cited for the same offense in April, police said.

The incident is just the latest to spark scrutiny around how some Tesla drivers abuse the company’s driver-assistance features. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened investigations into more than two dozen Tesla crashes, including a fatal incident in April that police said occurred with nobody in the driver’s seat.

Sharma told KTVU he bought a Tesla with the Full Self-Driving package, but seemed overly confident in the feature’s abilities. The $10,000 advanced driver-assistance system – a step up from the standard Autopilot feature – enables a car to automatically change lanes, navigate highway on-ramps and exits, and recognize stop signs and traffic lights.

But it does not make Teslas autonomous, and the company says drivers need to pay full attention when using it.

“It’s like a living room back here. I’m relaxing in luxury while Elon Musk chauffeurs me,” he told KTVU.

Even in its most advanced iteration, the Full Self-Driving system has major flaws. Tesla tells the software’s beta testers to be vigilant, as the feature may “do the wrong thing at the worst time.” In tests, Consumer Reports said Full Self Driving performed inconsistently and sometimes disengaged without warning.

Still, Sharma said he has no plans to stop riding in the back seat of his car, despite the clear dangers the stunt poses to pedestrians and other drivers.

“I feel like by mid-2022 the backseat thing will be normal. And I think right now people are just taking it out of proportion,” he said.

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Lawmakers demand answers in fatal Tesla crash after Elon Musk and executives offer conflicting details

Texas Tesla Crash.
The remains of a Tesla vehicle are seen after it crashed, killing two people, in The Woodlands, Texas, on April 17, 2021.

  • Lawmakers demanded answers Wednesday about a fatal Tesla crash after executives gave conflicting statements.
  • Elon Musk said autopilot wasn’t on, but a top Tesla exec said adaptive cruise control, an autopilot feature, was.
  • Rep. Kevin Brady and Sen. Richard Blumenthal criticized Tesla’s public statements about the crash.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Lawmakers slammed Tesla’s public response to a deadly crash involving one of its Model S vehicles that killed two men near Houston, Texas, earlier this month following conflicting statements from the company’s executives.

“Despite early claims by #Tesla #ElonMusk, autopilot WAS engaged in tragic crash in The Woodlands. We need answers,” Rep. Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican, tweeted Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, said he was “disappointed” that Musk weighed in publicly at all, given that two federal agencies still have ongoing investigations into the incident.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

Local authorities said following the crash that neither of the bodies they recovered were in the driver’s seat, prompting questions about whether the vehicle’s “autopilot” system – a suite of AI-powered driver assistance features – was engaged when the vehicle crashed.

Two days after the crash, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that early data obtained from the Model S showed “autopilot was not enabled,” and he doubled down on those claims in Tesla’s earnings call Monday, contradicting local authorities.

But in that same call, Tesla vice president of vehicle engineering Lars Moravy said that the vehicle’s traffic-aware, or adaptive, cruise control – part of the autopilot system, according to Tesla’s Model S owner manual – was engaged during the crash.

“Our adaptive cruise control only engaged when the driver was buckled in above 5 miles per hour. And it only accelerated to 30 miles per hour with the distance before the car crashed,” Moravy said, adding that the feature also “disengaged the car slowly to complete to a stop when the driver’s seatbelt was unbuckled.”

Moravy also pushed back on Texas authorities’ statements that no one was driving the car when it crashed.

“Through further investigation of the vehicle and accident remains, we inspected the car with NTSB and NHTSA and the local police and were able to find that the steering wheel was indeed deformed,” he said, “leading to a likelihood that someone was in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash and all seatbelts post crash were found to be unbuckled.”

Despite misleading and unverified claims about the autopilot’s capabilities and possible safety advantages, the feature doesn’t make Tesla vehicles fully autonomous. At least three drivers have died while using Tesla’s Autopilot, and the National Transportation Safety Board has called for increased scrutiny of self-driving software.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tesla said it’s likely somebody was in the driver’s seat during a deadly Model S crash in Texas, contradicting local law enforcement

Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

  • Elon Musk again denied that the Tesla that crashed in Texas on April 17, killing two people, was on Autopilot.
  • A Tesla exec added it was likely that someone was in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash.
  • This contradicts statements made by local law enforcement.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Monday that the Model S that crashed just outside Houston, Texas, earlier this month, killing two people, wasn’t on Autopilot – and that any suggestion otherwise was “completely false.”

Lars Moravy, Tesla’s vice president of vehicle engineering, added that he thought it was likely someone was in the driver’s seat at the time of the deadly crash, contradicting local law enforcement.

On April 17, a Tesla Model S skipped over a curb, crashed into a tree, and burst into flames, killing two people.

A Harris County constable told local TV station KHOU on April 18 that investigators were “100% certain that no one was in the driver seat driving that vehicle at the time of impact.” A senior Harris County officer said on April 19 that witnesses had suggested nobody was driving the vehicle earlier in its journey.

Tesla’s electric vehicles come with Autopilot, a feature that allows the cars to brake, accelerate, and steer automatically. Tesla tells drivers using Autopilot to remain in the driver’s seat with their hands on the steering wheel – but earlier this month, Consumer Reports showed it was possible to turn on Autopilot with nobody in the driver’s seat.

Musk previously said that Autopilot was not being used at the time of the crash. Two days after the crash, he tweeted: “Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled.”

Read more: The electric car boom is coming to wipe out auto dealer profits. Consolidating into ‘super dealers’ may be their only way to survive.

During Tesla’s earnings call Monday, Musk said that “there were really just extremely deceptive media practices where it was claimed to be Autopilot but this is completely false.” He didn’t reference any specific media reports.

Moravy said that Tesla had been working with local authorities, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to investigate the crash.

“The steering wheel was indeed deformed so we’re leaning to the likelihood that someone was in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash,” Moravy said.

“All seatbelts post-crash were found to be unbuckled,” he added. Tesla’s Autopilot only works when seatbelts are buckled in.

Moravy said that Tesla was unable to recover the data from the vehicle’s SD card at the time of impact, but that the local authorities were working on that.

“We continue to hold safety in a higher regard and look to improve products in the future through this kind of data and other information from the field,” he added.

Tesla also sells its full self-driving software (FSD) as a $10,000 one-off add-on, which it plans to release widely in 2021. FSD allows cars to park themselves, change lanes, and identify both stop signs and traffic lights.

Neither Autopilot nor FSD makes a Tesla car fully autonomous.

At least three drivers have died while using Tesla’s Autopilot, and the National Transportation Safety Board has called for increased scrutiny of self-driving software.

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Elon Musk says Tesla will double its Full Self-Driving software’s beta program. It comes amid news that Ford’s Mustang Mach-E is eating into Tesla’s US sales.

Tesla
A Tesla supercharger station at Burbank town center.

  • CEO Elon Musk said Tesla would double a beta testing program for its Full Self-Driving software.
  • “Still be careful, but it’s getting mature,” Musk said.
  • The news comes amid reports that a Ford rival is eating into Tesla’s lead in the EV market.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Friday said the carmaker would double a beta testing program for its self-driving software. The news comes amid reports that Ford’s electric Mustang Mach-E seems to be eating into Tesla’s lead in the electric vehicle market. 

On Twitter, Musk said:“If you want the Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta downloaded to your car, let us know.”

The beta drivers will be testing version 8.2 of the company’s Full Self-Driving software, said Musk. Last week, the CEO said version 8.1 “normally drives me around with no interventions.” The next version will be “a big step change beyond that.”

“Still be careful, but it’s getting mature,” he added on Friday. 

Musk also said he expected the beta program to be “probably” 10 times larger by the time the company tests its version 8.3 software. Version 8.3 has “literally ~1000 improvements” from the previous version, he tweeted, adding it “will take time to QA internally before release probably in two or three weeks.”

Tesla has an ever-growing number of electric vehicle rivals, and while Ford sold only 3,739 of the new SUVs in February, Tesla’s share of the US electric-car market fell to 69% in the same month. This was down from 81% in the prior year, a Morgan Stanley report found. What’s more, the Mustang accounted for nearly all of Tesla’s market-share losses, the bank said. 

Tesla’s beta testers will be trying out the company’s Full Self-Driving software. One beta user posted a video of his Tesla driving 358 miles, from Los Angeles to Silicon Valley, without the driver intervening. 

The company had plans to launch the autopilot software as a subscription service this year. Musk said this month that it would “for sure” launch before July. 

Waymo CEO, John Krafcik, in January said Tesla’s software can’t compete with Waymo’s autonomous software. Tesla’s building cars with assisted driving, while Waymo’s building cars that don’t need drivers at all, he said. 

“So no Tesla is not a competitor at all. They’re a car company making a driver assist system. We’re a company making a fully autonomous driver,” Krafcik said.

Musk shot back on Twitter, saying Tesla had “better AI hardware and software than Waymo.” 

 

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Elon Musk says Tesla’s ‘full self-driving’ subscription is ‘for sure’ launching at some point before July, marking a slight delay

Elon Musk
Elon Musk, Tesla CEO.

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company’s “full self-driving” subscription should “for sure” launch before July.
  • This marks a slight delay. Musk tweeted that Tesla was taking some more time to build out the software.
  • FSD is currently available in beta for a one-off $10,000 fee. The subscription price isn’t yet known.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Elon Musk said Monday that subscriptions for Tesla’s “full self-driving” (FSD) feature should be available in the second quarter of 2021 – a slight delay from his earlier prediction.

In response to a Twitter user who asked when the electric car company’s FSD subscription was launching, Musk replied: “Q2 for sure.”

The price of an FSD subscription isn’t known, but Musk said that “buying FSD will still be a better long-term deal than subscription.”

FSD currently costs a one-off $10,000 and is available in beta form to some drivers. It does not make a Tesla car fully autonomous.

It is an add-on to Tesla’s Autopilot – which can brake, accelerate, and steer automatically – and allows cars to park themselves, change lanes, and identify both stop signs and traffic lights. The company released a beta version to some Tesla owners in October. 

The subscription, which allows drivers to pay for Tesla’s advanced driver-assistance system in installments rather than the whole package at once, has faced numerous delays

Musk said in Tesla’s third-quarter earnings call in October that the company would release the feature to the public by the end of 2020, per The Verge.

But this got pushed back. Musk tweeted in December that the “full self-driving” package will be rolled out as a subscription in early 2021. Now it looks like it could be postponed until mid-2021, judging by Monday’s tweet.

In a separate tweet, Musk said the reason behind the delay of FSD was that Tesla was taking more time to improve AI in the software.

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