Now that Future Tesla Models can Achieve Level 5 Autonomy, Tesla Thinks it can Tell You What to Do
Will Tesla Disable your vehicle if you don’t comply? Maybe....by Robert Moore, on
Tesla recently announced that all new models built going forward would have all of the hardware necessary to sustain level 5 autonomy – effectively make the Model S, Model X, and upcoming Model 3 true, self-driving vehicles. This is a huge step forward for the innovative company, and all of the hardware should be fully functional (after several OTA updates) by 2018. This is great and all, but Tesla has been known to have some pretty quirky clauses built into their sales contracts, and level-five capable vehicles are no different. So what funky clause am I talking about this time? How about the fact that you can’t use your new Tesla for car sharing or ride-hailing?
Yes, you read that correctly. On Tesla’s AutoPilot page where the system is described fairly well, but there is a very interesting clause toward the bottom of the page: “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. Please note also that using a self-driving Tesla for car sharing and ride-hailing for friends and family is fine, but doing so for revenue purposes will only be permissible on the Tesla Network, details of which will be released next year.”
Did you catch that? Tesla is quietly announcing its own ride-sharing network that will be available in 2017. That’s great and all, but right in the middle is that clause that says you can’t use your Tesla for ride-hailing or car sharing outside of its own network. So, in other words, you can’t make money off of your self-driving Tesla, unless Tesla is making money at the same time.
Keep reading for the rest of the story
Follow the Rules or Rebel?
So, you’ve ordered a new Tesla, and it has finally been delivered after what seems like an eternity. Now that you have it, and have paid dearly to be called its owner, you should be able to do anything with it that you want within legal limits, right? Well, in this case, it’s wrong. Tesla, and Musk with his $11.5-billion net worth seems to think you should follow their rules as to what you can and can’t do with a vehicle that you now own. Telling your customers that their newly-purchased vehicle can’t be used for ride sharing or car-hailing for profit is absolutely outrageous, but the question is, what if you don’t follow the rules?
I’m curious about that myself. Is Tesla going to be monitoring how the new system is used and red-flag people who may very well be using a 2019 Model S for ride sharing? What happens if you get caught? Will Tesla disable the self-driving capability remotely? Will there be a clause in the contract that says possession of the vehicle can be forfeited? All of these are possible, given Tesla’s constant connection to each of its models on the road. I’m well aware that it’s pretty easy to get a big head when you’re the man behind the world’s first self-driving cars, but this is a little ridiculous. Last I knew we lived in a free country and could do what we pleased with our own property so long as it doesn’t violate any local, state, or federal laws. Either way, I suggest you pay close attention to that contract you sign if you go to buy a Tesla – wonder boy may very well have snuck in a few obligations that you won’t necessarily want to agree to.
Read our full review on the 2016 Tesla Model X here.
Read our full review on the 2017 Tesla Model S here.
Read our full review on the 2018 Tesla Model 3 here.