Tesla's Full Self-Driving (FSD) mode will be available to customers through a monthly subscription from 2021, according to CEO Elon Musk.
In a tweet, the tech mogul revealed plans to introduce a subscription service "early next year" that will allow customers to access FSD on a month-to-month basis. Currently, drivers are having to fork out $10,000 (around £7,600) – a figure which increased by 25% in October – to add the driving mode to Autopilot, the Tesla advanced driving system.
It's worth noting that the regulations for autonomous driving technology are still strict in many countries around the world – the FSD software can't legally be used in the UK, and only a few US states allow it, for example – so it's likely that next year's subscription rollout will only apply to customers in certain areas of the US.
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According to the company, the FSD computer – while still requiring active driver supervision – is capable of delivering "intelligent performance and control to enable a new level of safety and autonomy."
In its current state, this means Tesla vehicles are able to maneuver around other vehicles and objects, as well as make turns and navigate highway ramps without the need for driver intervention.
Absolutely. We will release FSD subscription early next year.December 20, 2020
An improving technology
Despite some early teething problems – a beta warning advised customers that the system "may do the wrong thing at the worst time" – Tesla's FSD mode is improving by the month thanks to regular software updates and crowd-sourced data.
Most recently, a prominent Tesla vlogger captured the moment his vehicle managed to autonomously navigate San Francisco's notoriously-twisty Lombard street.
It's clear the technology is improving, and while it may not roll out on the streets of the world as quickly as Elon Musk hopes – Europe is still yet to be convinced of its safety – plans to introduce a subscription service suggest a commitment to making the software as accessible to as many customers as possible.
Not that accessible means cheap, mind.
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Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.
Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.