Tesla is all set to increase the price of self-drive option in its electric cars by $1,000, CEO Elon Musk announced on Monday (US time) and also added that the value of technology being constantly upgraded would be over $100,000.
Musk has been an extremely vocal supporter of self-driving vehicles and has time and again predicted that such cars would rule the roads of the future. At Tesla, the future may not be too distant as the company has offering the option - called Autopilot - in most of its cars for some time now. Also referred to as 'Full Self-Driving' or FSD, the feature is presently not completely autonomous but allows summon feature, automatic lane change and parallel parking. Tesla cars will also soon offer automatic recognition of traffic signals - stopping at red and moving forward if green.
Musk now appears to be putting Tesla in the fast lane towards the eventual goal of a completely autonomous vehicle. "The FSD price will continue to rise as the software gets closer to full self-driving capability with regulatory approval," he tweeted. "It that point, the value of FSD is probably somewhere in excess of $100,000. Tesla Full Self-Driving option cost rises by ~$1000 worldwide on July 1st. Order a Tesla online in less than 2 minutes at (sic)."
Earlier this month, it was reported that Tesla will offer FSD packages much like Netflix subscription plans. News outlet Electrek had reported that Tesla has been developing a pay-as-you-go subscription service for its FSD. The report was apparently based on codes that leaked in Tesla's in-app purchase system. "I think we will offer Full Self-Driving as a subscription service, but it will be probably towards the end of this year," Musk too was quoted as saying after Tesla reported Q1 profits. (Full report here)
And while Tesla may be pushing the boundaries of cars that can handle their own selves on roads, there are safety concerns aplenty. Many feel that such vehicles could lead to rise in accidents and fatalities, also because the driver of the vehicle would end up paying no attention to the surroundings. With the possibility of even adding games to such cars, concerns over safety have only risen. An investigation into an accident involving a Tesla car on autopilot in 2018 found that the driver was busy playing a game. And while Tesla urges people to keep their hands on the steering wheel even when the car is driving itself, the US National Transportation Safety Board in February of this year had said that the autopilot feature needs to be improved.
On his part, Musk has said a self-driving car would be a whole lot safer than conventional cars because these would eliminate chances of human error. Tesla autopilot makes use of 8 surround cameras that provide 360 degrees of visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. It also has 12 ultrasonic sensors. For Musk, these cars are nothing short of being superhumans.