As the features of Tesla's Full Self Driving (FSD) option have improved over time, Tesla has also increased the cost of the package.
FSD was priced at $5,000 in April of 2019, and its cost has slowly increased to the current $12,000. The last price increase was in January 2022.
While many drivers find the included Autopilot (the stripped-down version of FSD) feature to be sufficient for their daily highway driving needs, one can’t deny that FSD has the potential to be a life-changing product that places an AI-powered chauffeur behind the wheel of your car.
For those confused by the terminology, Autopilot currently features the ability for the car to maintain its lane (Autosteer) while using Traffic-Aware Cruise Control to maintain a set speed (and slow down or stop for slower traffic/hazards).
While it works better than many lane-keeping assist options from other car manufacturers, it still requires the driver to make lane changes (and take navigational actions like make a turn or obey a traffic light). It is effective primarily on highways and lacks the ability to navigate cities/towns.
For those seeking automated lane changes or city driving, one has to upgrade to the FSD package (and hope they have a sufficient safety score to enter the FSD Beta trial). Until now.
For those interested in more automation and less driver input without breaking the bank, it appears that Tesla will once again offer a mid-tier package called Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) that features some of the abilities of FSD.
Tesla used to offer Enhanced Autopilot and FSD as separate packages, but 2019 Tesla restructured their offerings and included a slimmed down version of EAP free with every vehicle.
At that point, EAP was removed, and the FSD package became the only driver asisst add-on.
Tesla has now brought back the EAP option in Australia for roughly half the price of the FSD package.
Enhanced Autopilot includes everything in basic Autopilot and adds on Navigate on Autopilot (automated lane changes and on ramp/off ramp navigation), as well as Smart Summon and AutoPark.
Noticeably absent from EAP is city/town navigation with navigation skills like obeying traffic lights, turning corners, and navigating traffic circles.
For those who seek an automated highway driving experience that dramatically lessens the driver’s attention-load, EAP might be priced as a more affordable option for Tesla owners.
It should be noted that Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot, and FSD still require the driver to maintain both hands on the wheel at all times and be ready to take over driving immediately.
You may see headlines state that Teslas were involved in nearly 70 percent of advanced vehicle technology crashes, however this statistic doesn't paint an accurate picture.
The U.S. Department of Transportation released the initial data it has collected since the agency advised more than 100 automakers to report collisions related to automated driver-assist systems.
Of the 392 crashes submitted to the NHTSA, Tesla had the largest amount of incidents, with Honda coming in second.
The other 19 incidents are divided between nine manufacturers.
NHTSA is saying that this data shouldn't be used to make any conclusions on the safety of these systems.
The data provided by NHTSA lacks context, such as the number of vehicles equipped with the system, the number of miles driven, or how individuals are using the system.
While Tesla has the most incidents, Tesla's Autopilot is very actively used. Autopilot is likely used more than 3x than Honda's system, which would instantly change the takeaway people are getting out of this report.
This data also doesn't show how these systems are preventing accidents. Autopilot is a much more advanced system than those available on other vehicles, so while it was involved in more accidents, it also prevented additional accidents.
Tesla runs Autopilot safety systems passively in the background. It's ready to hit the brakes or even move out of the way of a vehicle to help avoid an accident.
I'd encourage Tesla to follow up on NHTSA's report with exact figures of how many vehicles have Autopilot, how many miles have been traveled, and how many times Autopilot has moved within its lane to avoid potential accidents.
The video below shows many of these situations where Autopilot has prevented collisions.
What NHTSA is trying to find out is whether these systems are safe. However, without proper context and additional information, NHTSA is adding confusion about the capabilities of Autopilot.
In a day and age where consumers read headlines and not articles, this report is causing more harm than good.
Due to this report, two senators are now calling on NHTSA to take further action. Senator Ed Markey said, "we are seeing a never-ending parade of reports about Autopilot operating in ways that skirt our safety laws and endanger the public, from rolling through stop signs and phantom breaking. Tesla has argued Autopilot makes us safer, but this report provides further evidence slamming the breaks on those claims."
In fact, the agency has 35 active crash investigations where Autopilot is believed to have been used. Several news agencies reported they reached out to Tesla but did not receive a comment on the report.
I was lane changing while a motorcyclist very aggressively lane changed and accelerated from behind the car behind me. Autopilot aborted the lane change and was right.
It's likely the company predicted it would have higher numbers, due to the large number of miles driven with Autopilot.
ADAS, which stands for advanced driver assistance systems, includes driver assistant systems for steering and speed and provides traffic-aware cruise control. Tesla is a frontrunner in this technology and has 830,000 of these vehicles on the road in the U.S. Tesla also has far more advanced crash reports, which is lacking in other automakers.
NHTSA calls this report a first of its kind and plans to release the data monthly. Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA's Administrator, said, "new vehicle technologies have the potential to help prevent crashes, reduce crash severity, and save lives, and the Department is interested in fostering technologies that are proven to do so; collecting this data is an important step in that effort. As we gather more data, NHTSA will be able to better identify any emerging risks or trends and learn more about how these technologies are performing in the real world."
The report is admittedly not comprehensive. The NHTSA admits it lacked data to provide immediate information from all automakers. It also stated that some companies were more "robust" with data because their vehicles are equipped with telematics (Tesla). In contrast, several other manufacturers do not have telematics capabilities.
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