Tesla Source Code Reveals A Subscription Model For Its Self-Driving Car

Tesla Source Code Reveals A Subscription Model For Its Self-Driving Car
Image: Tesla

A few weeks back it was announced that Tesla was planning on increasing the price of its eventual Full Self-Driving Package. A dig through the source code has now revealed that a pay-as-you-go subscription service is also in the works — and it’s a damn good idea.

This discovery was first reported on Twitter by @greentheonly who claims the framework for the subscription service has been in the code for awhile.

Whether it goes ahead or not, the concept makes a lot of sense.

At the moment the price on the Full Self Driving Package is $US7,000 and it’s only going to go up in price as more features are added. It already copped a price increase last year when Tesla’s auto-pilot features, which are already available, were bundled in. It will also probably get a price increase again in July.

But here’s the thing – cars don’t have full self-driving capabilities yet. And yet Tesla already pre-sells the package as an optional extra years before it’s likely to be completely usable. Here in Australia where we have a myriad of laws standing in the way of self-driving vehicles, the wait could be even longer. The Full Self Driving package isn’t even available in Australia, though Autopilot is.

Of course, this move fits Tesla’s MO. The company offers pre-sells and down payments on its cars and solar power tech well in advance of release. By now fans of the brand are used to laying down cash without any real idea of when they might see the finished product.

And at least with this package you can access some of the features are they’re rolled out.

Considering that the Full Self-Driving package price is likely to increase even further over the coming years, it may be too expensive for some buyers to justify. And that’s where pay-as-you-go becomes a viable solution.

If customers have the option to utilise their car’s self-driving capabilities as they need them – such as on road trips and other long drives – they probably will. After all, Tesla’s current Autopilot features are the most safe and practical when used on highways.

If I had the option lay down a huge chunk of cash for some features I wouldn’t use all the time, or just pay for it when I wanted to, I know which I’d go for.

Tesla Autopilot's Biggest Problem Is Other People

A truck merges in front of me - definitely closer than the three-car gap I had programmed. My car responds by braking somewhat suddenly. A horn beeps from behind. A small hatchback is riding the rear. It changes lanes, speeds past and continues to weave in between the other vehicles that are going about their business. The automatic breaking wouldn't be a problem if the driver behind me wasn't driving so close. I swallowed the Wollongong-shaped urge in my gut to flip him off, and instead reflect on the scenario. See, I'm about 4 hours into testing Autopilot on a brand new Tesla Model S. And what just happened on the Pacific Highway at 11pm was the problem with the entire system. People are dickheads.

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