Tesla’s Full Self Driving package is still in development, but promises to be your ticket to turn your Tesla into an autonomous car.
The package definitely feels expensive, currently priced at A$10,100, especially given the current features, is a fair way from the promise of autonomous driving and allowing you to enrol your car in the Tesla fleet and start making money while you sleep.
As we approach the end of the September quarter, history tells us, Tesla pushes to hit new record production and delivery numbers, which often results in profit. Something else that can help with that goal, is software revenue, a large portion of, is profit.
Tesla’s now offering Enhanced Autopilot (to existing owners), for the first time on Model 3, which could get you most of the benefits of FSD, while being far cheaper. Sounds like a great deal right?
The reality is, buying Enhanced Autopilot will set you back A$5,100, a $5,000 saving from the full FSD price $A10,100 price. This buys you Navigate on Autopilot, Auto Lane Change, Autopark and Summon. What it doesn’t buy you, is the ability to respond to traffic lights and stop signs or future unlocks like driving on city streets.
Some Australians have already been tempted by this offer and confirmed those with Enhanced Autopilot will see the price to upgrade from EAP to FSD, then costs an additional A$5,900.
If you think you’ll never want future autonomous driving upgrades that will arrive over the coming months and years, then EAP may be a great option at this price.
It is important to be mindful that if you change your mind down the track, you’ll be up for a total cost of A$11,000, a $900 premium over buying FSD in one step, instead of two.
Personally I decided I wanted FSD, well before the car arrived in my driveway. I didn’t buy it during ordering (at the time A$7,100), to avoid the Luxury Car Tax being applied to.
I used the first 6 months of ownership to save my ass off, and put aside the savings from reduced recharging vs refueling costs. This put me in a position to buy FSD on May 2nd, 2020 for A$8,500.
Tesla website lists the FSD functionality as:
- 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.
With the following features under a heading – ‘Upcoming’
- Recognise and respond to traffic lights and stop signs.
- Automatic driving on city streets.
The first point there is already happening, while the second is a massive challenge. Being able to navigate city streets requires autopilot to get better across many situations.
- Give way sounds
- Turning corners (with traffic flow or from a stop)
- Better lane detection when gutters and no lines are present
- Merging when lanes end (eg, 2 to 1)
- Slowing for speed bumps
My favourite feature from the FSD package is definitely the lane changing. Not just the automatic lane changing to overtake people on the higher (part of NoA), but manual lane changes on any dual-lane carriageway.
Simply throw on your indicator, apply some force on the wheel to confirm you’re paying attention and the car performs the lance change safely, smoothly and easily.
This works so well it has eliminated my need to do a head-check when moving lanes as I know the car has a far better picture of it’s surroundings than I do. Thanks to the display, I know what the car is able to determine about its environment, like a car next to you and the car will slow to allow that car to pass before merging.
After the lane change has completed, the blinker turns itself off. While this doesn’t sound like much, it’s just another small piece of programming that helps drivers focus on driving and not about peripheral tasks that can be automated.
It’ll be a fun ride to watch FSD progress, even if Musk misses his FSD delivery date of being ‘feature complete’ by a whole 12 months.
Musk has said another method of buying the FSD functionality will be via subscription before the end of the year, however we still don’t have any pricing on that option.