The self-driving technology that customers had to pay for as an optional extra is now being put on hold by Tesla indefinitely. Interestingly, customers haven’t been able to activate the option despite having it on board for two years.
The American electric carmaker has been offering what it calls full self-driving on all its products since October 2016. The option is an advanced version of its Autopilot technology. As of now, Tesla has dropped the option to pay for sizeable amounts of cash to get the autonomous driving feature from its online design studios.
Elon Musk tweeted late last Thursday that the feature “was causing too much confusion.” Tesla started selling the full self-driving technology as an optional extra in October 2016 for $8,000. The company was hit by a series of setbacks shortly after it announced the availability of the feature. Top Autopilot managers and engineers left the company, stalling progress regarding the development of the next-level Autopilot system. Tesla owners who paid thousands of dollars for the option filed a class-action lawsuit against the firm, claiming they were deceived into buying a feature that didn’t exist.
Although Tesla has temporarily rolled back the full self-driving option, it is unlikely the firm will remove it for good from its options list. Musk wrote to employees in September that Tesla needed about 100 more employees to join an internal testing programme linked to rolling out the full self-driving capability.
Any employee who bought a Tesla and agreed to share 300 to 400 hours of driving feedback for the company’s Autopilot development team by the end of next year would not have to pay for full self-driving. Tesla is also throwing in a free premium interior for the aforementioned employees’ cars, running the total savings up to $13,000.
In the wake of the recent shift in senior-level management at the American automaker, Musk has been restructuring the company’s operations, streamlining processes, and introducing innovative ideas to keep the business afloat. Recently, the company announced a toned down Model 3 variant which is slightly slower and covers shorter distances on a full charge. It will be interesting to watch how Tesla Motors turns profitable in the future.