In a tweet posted early Thursday morning, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said that prices for the Full Self-Driving (“FSD”) upgrade to Tesla vehicles would increase by roughly $2,000.
It’s potentially an indication that the company is realizing that it needs to find new ways to make up for the rapidly diverging cost of the company’s electric vehicle hardware and the suite of software and services that are the ingredients for much of the secret sauce that make Tesla’s vehicles so popular.
To be clear, Tesla’s definition for fully self-driving cars is different from a fully autonomous vehicle. As TechCrunch reported last year when the company unveiled the plans for the latest version of its autonomous driving package, Musk described multiple levels of Tesla’s assessment of self-driving tech, and specified that this meant cars are “able to be autonomous but requiring supervision and intervention at times.”
Musk announced in a tweet that Tesla would be rolling out a beta version of its self-driving mode late Tuesday night, several hours before the company reported its third quarter earnings.
The long-delayed deployment of more robust autonomous capabilities from Tesla comes nearly a year later than Musk had anticipated. It was on the company’s third quarter earnings call in 2019 that Musk first talked about the fully self-driving system. At the time, he’d said that the initial beta deployment could come as soon as the end of the year.
“While it’s going to be tight, it still does appear that will be at least … in [an] early-access release of a feature complete self-driving feature this year,” Musk said at the time.
The FSD system, an upgrade from Tesla’s early experiments in autonomy that went under its Autopilot package, will cost an additional $10,000 after the price hike. The features will include “Summon” as well as “Navigate on Autopilot,” a system that navigates a car from a highway on-ramp to off-ramp, including interchanges and making lane changes.
Tesla has been fine-tuning the Autopilot and broader FSD system through constant updates to the vehicle’s software via over-the-air transmissions and the company said that the nav system should soon respond to traffic lights, stop signs and other traffic inputs when driving on city streets.