Tesla’s Full Self Driving (FSD) package currently costs A$8,500 in Australia and for those who stretched financially to afford a Tesla, is a big ask to justify.
What FSD really represents is the software unlock to enable the car to drive itself, as the hardware is already present in every Model 3 sold in Australia.
In response to a question on this morning’s quarterly earnings, Elon Musk confirmed that FSD would be offered as a subscription by the end of 2020.
For those not familiar with what’s included in the FSD package, it includes:
- Navigate on Autopilot: automatic driving from motorway on-ramp to off-ramp including interchanges and overtaking slower cars.
- Auto Lane Change: automatic lane changes while driving on the motorway.
- Autopark: both parallel and perpendicular spaces.
- Summon: your parked car will come find you anywhere in a car park. Really.
- Recognise and respond to traffic lights and stop signs (available in the US only for now)
- Automatic driving on city streets.
This did answer the question which really questioned how the company can accelerate adoption of FSD and deepen their data advantage. Having a subscription confirmed is great, but ultimately the price is the key piece of information is the monthly subscription price.
Don’t expect FSD to be another Spotify subscription, this will be expensive, easily north of A$100pm is my guess, especially once Tesla starts their ride sharing service.
A monthly price is certainly more approachable and will allow more people to try out the autonomous features, but it doesn’t lock in a price like an outright purchase does. Musk has said a number of times that the price of FSD will increase over time as functionality does.
Musk also said that he expects his cars to be able to drive most commutes without intervention by the end of the year. He went on to say that the Alpha builds (in his own car right now) are basically already at that point, but they need to improve in reliability before general release.
With the rollout of traffic light and stop sign detection in the US, Tesla are already collecting data from 1 million intersections per month. Musk says that will soon grow to 1 billion intersections per month, suggesting the rollout will accelerate. With each driver confirmation, the AI learns and confirms it’s models, so with enough data, the confidence to automatically handle traffic lights and even turns is coming.
This places Tesla far ahead of any other auto company and despite Coronavirus, the company still managed to make a record first quarter of the year and the 3rd consecutive profitable quarter.