Tesla Owners Will Soon Be Able to Try Autopilot for Free

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Indian Technology News

June 8, 2018

Tesla owners will soon be able to give Autopilot a try—for free.

That’s what Elon Musk said at the electric car company’s annual shareholder meeting in Silicon Valley Tuesday afternoon.

Musk—who first came on stage bizarrely teary and on the verge of crying—eventually calmed down and started his presentation about all things Tesla.

After addressing concerns about Model 3 production and pricing and announcing a new Gigafactory for building batteries in Shanghai, he casually mentioned that next month the company would be offering free trials of the car’s semi-autonomous software, Autopilot.

“You’ll see the reliability and capability of Autopilot will increase over the next six to 12 months,” he said, adding that incremental improvements were already slated for the driver assistance program this week.

Autopilot is an add-on feature that doesn’t automatically come with the car—it costs Tesla owners an additional $5,000 to get the adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping tool.

Musk added later during the question-and-answer portion of the event, “Autopilot’s improvements will be quite dramatic.”

The free trial might be an effort to bolster the perception of Autopilot as safe and reliable in the wake of crashes, some deadly, with the feature engaged.

Musk also laid out plans for the Model Y, supposedly set for a March 2019 unveiling, with production starting in the first half of 2020. He said the car “is going to be something super special.”

In what may have been a joke response to a comment from a rep from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, asking about removing leather from Tesla’s steering wheels, Musk said the Model Y would have no leather in the vehicle including the steering wheel—if the new car even has a steering wheel.

Meanwhile, Musk said the beleaguered Model 3 affordable sedan should be hitting a production rate of 5,000 cars per week by the end of June. He said the issues with getting the Model 3 made and delivered have been “the most excruciatingly hellish months I’ve ever had.”

If someone were to order a Model 3 in the U.S. today he said the wait would be about four months. But first all those eager Tesla drivers who put down deposits for the new sedan are still waiting for their cars.

Also, don’t hold your breath for a Tesla motorcycle—Musk quashed hopes that the company would build one, citing an experience he had when he was nearly killed while riding one.

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