Tesla's Autopilot program has a lot of issues right now, and it goes well beyond from last months' deadly crash. The company charges $5,000 for the Autopilot's lane-keeping and advanced cruise control features. Additionally, customers are able to pay $3,000 for “Full Self-Driving Capability.”
“All you will need to do is get in and tell your car where to go,” Tesla's ordering page says. “Your Tesla will figure out the optimal route, navigate urban streets (even without lane markings), manage complex intersections with traffic lights, stop signs and roundabouts, and handle densely packed freeways with cars moving at high speed.”
While the company charges for these capabilities, there's one thing you need to know: these “full self-driving” capabilities aren't available yet. “Self-Driving functionality is dependent upon extensive software validation and regulatory approval, which may vary widely by jurisdiction,” the page says. “It is not possible to know exactly when each element of the functionality described above will be available, as this is highly dependent on local regulatory approval.”
The biggest reason why these aren't available yet has nothing to do with “regulatory approval,” more so the fact that Tesla hasn't created the technology yet to offer such capabilities. While the company has said that it may be a few years away from work completing it, some experts are not doubting if full self-driving capabilities will be achieved through the hardware that's currently in Tesla vehicles.
“It's a vastly more difficult problem than most people realize,” said Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Navigant Research and a former auto industry engineer.
It's also worth mentioning that Tesla has a good habit of pre-selling products before they're even made available. For example, Tesla promised a lot about Model 3, yet it's having production issues. This type of approach has been serving the company well in the past, but the strategy could backfire when speaking about Autopilot, and in due time, it more than likely will.