Tesla Removes 'Full Self Driving' Option From New Vehicle Ordering
The option was ‘causing too much confusion,’ according to Musk
Late Thursday, Tesla revealed a brand new "mid-range" Model 3 which can travel up to 260-miles on a single charge and is priced at $45,000 before incentives. With the release, Tesla also silently dropped its most ambitious to-be-released features from the entire line of its cars; the Full Self Driving upgrade.
According to CEO Elon Musk, the option was causing "too much confusion," though there was no elaboration on the comment. It's unclear if this was a reference to drivers misunderstanding the difference between Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self Driving features, or drivers simply misusing the Autopilot suite and getting into accidents due to the assumption that they wouldn't have to watch the road.
The optional feature could be purchased in conjunction with the semi-autonomous "Enhanced Autopilot" feature for the sum of $3,000, or added after delivery for $4,000 should drivers later change their mind. Musk now says that he "believes" that the price of Full Self Driving will be available at a later time for $5,000, an increase of 25 percent from earlier this year. This brings the total (current) price to purchase Full Self Driving to $10,000.
Tesla has been working to develop its Full Self Driving suite, however, this has been stymied with difficulties surrounding the development of fool-proof semi-autonomous solutions, as well as the legislation surrounding autonomy as a whole.
"Please note that Self-Driving functionality is dependent upon extensive software validation and regulatory approval, which may vary widely by jurisdiction." read the previous disclaimer on Tesla's website when browsing the Full Self Driving option. "It is not possible to know exactly when each element of the functionality described above will be available, as this is highly dependent on local regulatory approval."
During a quarterly earnings conference call earlier this year, Musk and his team had revealed that it was close to finishing its "on-ramp to off-ramp solution." Additionally, an announcement was made that Tesla was dropping Nvidia as the manufacturer of its application-specific autopilot computers and had developed proprietary hardware that improved framerate processing tenfold. According to Musk, this hardware would be retrofitted into any vehicle which had purchased the Full Self Driving suite at no additional cost.
On Tuesday, Musk tweeted that all newly produced vehicles would be fitted with the new hardware from the factory within six months.
The removal of the option doesn't necessarily signal that Full Self Driving will be dropped altogether. Musk notes that the feature will be available "off menu" for the next week (by special order only). However he does not specify what will happen with the feature after that time, nor how long the option will remain unpurchasable.