Tesla has now introduced an option for some of its customers to have the ability to subscribe to its advanced driver assistance software which it calls “Full Self-Driving Capability” for a fee of US$199/month.
This new model is meant to replace the upfront US$10,000 fee option that customers can select when purchasing a Tesla EV in order to get the self-driving capability on their new car.
The American electric automaker also made it known that its new subscription service would help generate recurring revenue as well as expand its customer base for pricy features which include lane changing on highways as well as parking assistance.
However, Tesla still states clearly that the current features do not make whatever vehicle activated it on to become autonomous as they would still require fully attentive drive who need to have their hands on the wheel.
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“FSD capability subscriptions are currently available to eligible vehicles in the United States. Check your Tesla app for updates on availability in other regions,” Tesla said on its website.
Tesla’s CFO Zachary Kirkhorn said in April that its planned subscription service would generate recurring revenue for the company, although “there could be a period of time in which cash reduces in the near term.”
“If … you look at the number of customers who did not purchase FSD upfront or on a lease and maybe want to experiment with FSD, this is a great option for them,” he said during an earnings call in April.
The company also said that the subscription is available in vehicles equipped with Full Self-Driving computer 3.0 or above while letting its customers know that upgrading to the new hardware will cost them about US$1,500.
Elon Musk has forecasted in the not-so-long past that robotaxis with no human drivers would be available in some parts of the U.S. market as soon as 2020 however, in March 2021, Tesla told a California regulator that it may not be able to achieve a fully self-driving technology even by the end of the year.
One might blame the COVID-19 as part of the slow-down due to the fact that the company’s engineers were unable to work during the pandemic and lockdown but all its researches and development should have resumed and something positive might be announced as soon as 2022 or beyond.
Tesla has also been testing its new semi-autonomous driving technology for city streets and it released the “FSD Beta V9” to a select number of customers to try out.