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AutoPilotshould be free (for now)

Should AutoPilot be free (for now)


  • Total voters
    94

Advicebox

Member
Aug 5, 2016
28
18
Berkeley, CA
So who else thinks Tesla should suspend charging people for AutoPilot, at least until the feature is out of Beta, and some of the controversy over the feature blows over? I just posted a write up discussing the arguement for free AutoPilot. Maybe if enough of us sound off Tesla will listen. I'm sure most of us are huge advocates of the feature, but it still feels early in its development compared to its potential, and for $3000 I'd be pretty upset if the feature contributed to an accident or damage to the Tesla. Having driven with it and paying full attention, there is definitely a learning curve and there are a lot of situations it still can't really handle.

So my recommendation is to make it free, call it Beta, and keep working to improve it. What do you think?
 
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NikeWings

Active Member
Apr 7, 2016
2,117
2,848
California
Per your blog:
"So Tesla, in fairness that AutoSteer is still Beta, and in fairness that I might die if I truly let my Tesla “auto pilot” me, and the fact that Tesla needs the data from our driving to improve the feature… why not make the feature free until it finally is capable of “auto piloting” my car? You get my driving data, I get the feature for free. Sounds like a fair trade to me."

Since nothing changes other than your proposed price, then you've traded your risk of death for a mere $2500.
Obviously you can't be that concerned about the probability of death, and 'in fairness', just looking for a hand out.

.
 

Az_Rael

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,654
8,942
Palmdale, CA
Guess it depends on how much you think TACC is worth vs Autosteer. That part of the Autopilot package is not in beta, and is part of the option cost.

If Autopilot was JUST autosteer (beta) for $2500, then I would say, yes. But it includes several other features that aren't in beta, so I think its fine for Tesla to charge. Maybe they should be more upfront about the autosteer beta status on their Model S sale website, but that is a different discussion
 

Advicebox

Member
Aug 5, 2016
28
18
Berkeley, CA
I guess it's a matter of expectations. I have much higher expectations, somewhat "polished" expectations, of a feature I have to pay for. I take a much different approach to beta features. I don't download Apple updates that are beta for the very reason I don't have time to mess with early software.

But you are definitely right, I would be a lot more upset if I damaged my Tesla or died at the hands of a $3000 feature that's supposed to help prevent that. Death or damage at the hands of a Beta feature, well that's most likely my own fault for living on the edge.

As far as trying to get a hand out, I'm definitely ready to pay $3,000 when the feature is no longer deemed Beta. So I don't really view it as a hand out, but more of a compromise and temporary savings until justified.
 

Advicebox

Member
Aug 5, 2016
28
18
Berkeley, CA
Az_Rael, agreed, maybe break out the non-beta components, but AutoSteer is pretty vital to the whole macro conversation right now and from reading the articles (which I agree, could turn out to be a lot of fud after the investigations are complete) it appears that distance feature may come into question as well.
 

Todd Burch

Voltage makes me tingle.
Nov 3, 2009
8,196
33,443
Smithfield, VA
I think they should just give us the car for free.

1. You understand it takes a tremendous amount of research and development to get to the point Tesla's at, right?
2. You understand that Autopilot is far and away the best system on the market? (I expect KZKZ to enter here and talk about Mercedes, but every independent review shows that Mercedes' system sucks compares to Autopilot).
3. You understand that Autopilot is Level 2 driver assistance, and not Level 4 autonomous driving, right?
4. You understand that even though Autopilot is labeled as "beta", it's not in any sense of the term beta software. It's been through billions of miles of testing and hundreds of millions of miles of actual use.

Given all of the things above, I cannot fathom why you think this should be free. Tesla is a business. They need to make money.
 

S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
5,740
6,897
Snohomish, WA
The way I see it is only certain features of the package are in beta.

Lane steering gets all the attention, but TACC is the worker bee. Plus some of these stuff will always be in beta on the current hardware. Like parallel/perpendicular parking element of Summons.

I find it amusing you did a whole write up without realizing that as is Autopilot is better than the competitors.

If a system is better than the competitors why would you give it away for free?

And where did deaths come from? I'm not aware of a plural with that one.
 

Advicebox

Member
Aug 5, 2016
28
18
Berkeley, CA
Hah, who said I don't realize Autopilot is better than the competitors.. the other posters? I definitely agree that the AutoPilot is the best on the market. Thought I made that clear, my reference to a more polished system is to a future AutoPilot, that isn't in a "commercial", "public" beta but rather in a commercial released status. Whether we want to advocate for the current system or not, it is a fact that it is a commercial beta and I was just advocating for a free beta period.

Anyhow, the beauty of a free market is that Tesla truly can test the waters on everyone's tolerance for paying for AutoPilot. The poll above does a good job to validate their position. I'm impressed. At least in these forums, which given represent a pretty loyal customer base, myself included, their seems to be a resounding voice for "Yes, charge us for this feature".

I would say the people have spoken :)
 
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FequalsMA

Member
Mar 10, 2016
282
75
Hong Kong
I'd rather pay for a product labelled as beta (knowing that revuenue is being used towards actively working on and improving the product i paid for after purchase), rather than being given a beta product for free and then improvements being an afterthought.
 

Advicebox

Member
Aug 5, 2016
28
18
Berkeley, CA
Calisnow - I'm the owner of a 90D, pretty expensive hobby to be a random. I would love to get some referrals, small return for the time investment in writing, but no, I'll be writing long past the referral program. The forums helped me with my purchase, and are a great community for discussing fun topics like this. It's great when everyone can keep the attitude light and positive. They're all just opinions after all.

off topic, but curious why you have a Model S on order when you already have a 2016 70D?
 

GoTslaGo

Learning Member
Dec 25, 2015
3,063
4,740
US
Hah, who said I don't realize Autopilot is better than the competitors.. the other posters? I definitely agree that the AutoPilot is the best on the market. Thought I made that clear, my reference to a more polished system is to a future AutoPilot, that isn't in a "commercial", "public" beta but rather in a commercial released status. Whether we want to advocate for the current system or not, it is a fact that it is a commercial beta and I was just advocating for a free beta period.

Anyhow, the beauty of a free market is that Tesla truly can test the waters on everyone's tolerance for paying for AutoPilot. The poll above does a good job to validate their position. I'm impressed. At least in these forums, which given represent a pretty loyal customer base, myself included, their seems to be a resounding voice for "Yes, charge us for this feature".

I would say the people have spoken :)

Just to add that the other automakers with "autopilot" type features charge an arm and a leg. I did some research regarding their costs in the past. Originally from:

Tesla's autopilot - "unsupervised wannabe" - Volvo says...

Here's the post:

So I finally got around to reading the article. Found this quote in the original Verge article:

"Unsaid here is that in its current "beta" incarnation (which customers have to pay thousands of dollars to enable) Tesla's Autopilot can suddenly turn itself off if it gets into trouble, and the driver must take over immediately or bad things can happen."

Figured I'd do some research about this (as I had looked into this prior to buying my Model S 70D, but prices have likely changed). When I bought our 70D with AP, I compared to 5 series BMW, MB E series, and Audi A6. We were replacing a BMW 5 series. Volvo wasn't in the running, but I'll include since the FUD is from them. To make things more comparable I've tried to include parking software, which we didn't, when we looked last year.

Mercedes (E series): Driver Assistance package: 2800. For parking assist: 970, but you need Premium package @ 4180 =
7950 total (2800 without parking assistance).

BMW (5 series): Driver Assist Plus 1700. Driv Assist Pkg 1800 (you click on the Plus, it automatically includes the Pkg for an extra 1800). TACC 1200. (No parking assist) =
4700 total (no auto parking).

Audi (A6): Driver Assist 2550. No parking assist (however includes parking system sensors) =
2550 (no auto parking).

Volvo: Driver Assist included. Parking assist: 1000. Vision package (blind spot visualization?) 1950 =
1000 or 2950.
(I was somewhat confused by the separate Vision package and comment about blind spot, so I included as potential price)

Tesla: Autopilot suite =
2500 or 3000. Future updates included.

I was basing my research last year on a summary article (mid to early last year) which rated MB, Audi and Volvo as having the best driver assistance package (rated "A", BMW was only a "B" in that article, which I cannot find anymore). Article preceded Tesla's Autopilot.

Just wanted to get prices out there so people realize that Tesla's Autopilot is actually very affordable in comparison to the competition.
 

cronosx

Member
Jun 1, 2016
248
157
Italy
For tesla beta means only "it hasen't got X km on it", it's not "we are just testing it but we don't have money to test it, so please do it for me", it's more of "we are sure it work, but then there are trillion of case in the world and no one can't be sure of it".

But, as said.. you need to compare it with the other, and i would say that they system are in pre-alpha ( something you don't even give to internal beta tester, is a version wich is heavy under developement ), and of course, with volvo/audi/mercedes/bwm you don't get auto-upgrade so you are stuck with a useless system that will try to kill you most of the time.
 

WannabeOwner

Well-Known Member
Nov 2, 2015
5,758
2,928
Suffolk, UK
I don't download Apple updates that are beta for the very reason I don't have time to mess with early software.

So by your own advice surely you shouldn't buy a Tesla beta product either, until it is out of beta.

, I would be a lot more upset if I damaged my Tesla or died at the hands of a $3000 feature that's supposed to help prevent that

The number of "saves" I have read about are far greater than the number of fails. Sufficient that a decent percentage (I'll go with 10% :) ) are avoiding the inconvenience of having their car off-road being repaired because AP avoided a minor accident, compared to if the driver had been driving manually.

The edge case you describe of "if I damaged my Tesla or died at the hands of a $3000 feature" only arises if you are not paying attention and not ready to take over at any time [as required]
 

Chuq

Active Member
Jan 1, 2015
3,448
4,193
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
I was under the impression that Tesla already collects the driving data, whether or not you have purchased AP. It is still reading the roads you are travelling on to add the knowledge to the collective hive mind.
 
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deonb

Active Member
Mar 4, 2013
4,061
4,359
Redmond, WA
Also keep in mind what the "Beta" label means according to Elon.

He basically wants it there until AutoPilot can achieve one or less fatality per billion miles (10 times safer than a human).

That's a laudable goal btw. It would make a Tesla under autopilot as safe as an airline for example.

However, that doesn't mean it doesn't provide value to people even before that goal has been reached.

But delaying removing the "Beta" label makes Tesla a bit more judgement proof. At a billion miles, if Tesla actually had to pay out liability on each fatality the way airlines do, at the average of $4.5m per person, it would cost them about $450 per each autopilot enabled car with avg. 100'000 autopilot miles on it, which can be folded into the autopilot price.

Tesla can almost market this as a feature the way airlines do, if it wasn't that people would then deliberately try and abuse it. (Think plot of the original 1970 "Airport").
 

Yggdrasill

Active Member
Feb 29, 2012
4,107
7,192
Kongsberg, Norway
I think Tesla should consider letting those who are dissatisfied disable it and get their money back. Maybe minus 2 USD/day or something.

As long as it has vague limitations, based on the quality of road markings, road width and the like, it's not easy for consumers to really know if autopilot is something they can actually use and be happy with. Allowing refunds would help keep the customers happy.

Also, this will help keep Tesla motivated to ensure the autopilot is as good as possible for as many customers as possible. If a speed limit is set wrong, so that the auotpilot doesn't function properly, getting that speed limit corrected might be cheaper than refunding 3k USD.
 
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