Tesla is making sure that its cars already have the ability to operate autonomously starting with the Model 3. The software is still some years away from being ready, but Tesla cars that would’ve hit the road in that time will be able to drive autonomously via a “locked feature.”
The hardware to carry out the task will be in the cars already, but owners will have to pay an extra $8,000 to get early access to it so the car will be ready right when autonomous driving is green lit or $10,000 later down the road or after the car has been delivered. Basically, the company is saying you’ll be better off getting the feature early.
The price is made up of two features: Enhanced Autopilot and Full-Self Driving Capability. The first feature runs $5,000 for early adapters, $6,000 post-delivery, and will be able to adjust vehicle speed to whatever the road and traffic conditions are and navigate different roads—street and freeway accordingly.
The Full Self-Driving Capability makes up $3,000 off the bat, $4,000 post-delivery, and—as the name suggests—will handle everything in regards to driving: tackling weather conditions, traffic signs and lights, speed, finding parking spots closest to your destination, and so on.
When will these features will be useful? Industry experts point to anywhere between five to ten years meaning you’ll end up purchasing a feature that won’t be useful until you consider purchasing a new car. Tesla CEO Elon Musk says it should be more readily useful at around two or three years which would make more worthwhile to invest in the feature.