Tesla To Offer One-Month Free Trial Of Autopilot Technology
Customers who avail of the free trial should have a better feel for the systemby Kirby Garlitos, on
Tesla’s mission to bring the latest in automotive technology into the hands of its customers took an ironic turn with the introduction of the Autopilot technology. Essentially, the system allows drivers of the Model S to give full control of their vehicles to the technology. The Autopilot system has proven to be a hit for those who purchased it, but those who are less convinced about its potential will now be given a chance to test out the technology for a period of month at no cost.
During the one-month trial period, owners of the Model S will be given time to try out the Autopilot system. If they like it, they can purchase the $3,000 over-the-air software update once the free trial concludes. If they don’t, well, the system will be disabled on their vehicles and they can go about driving their Model S’s on their own.
The Autopilot system doesn’t come cheap, but based on some of the recent reviews from people who have tried it, the tech appears to have delivered on its promise of letting the car do a number of on-road maneuvering on its own. That includes automatic steering, speed, lane changing, and parking with Summon.
The one-month free trial will give customers who are on-the-fence about the technology the opportunity to see for themselves what it’s capable of doing. That should be enough time to either convince someone to go for the software update or pass up on it entirely. Either way, it’s a good move by Tesla to essentially put the decision into the hands of its customers.
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Why it matters
Tesla may be a lot of things, but you have to give the electric automaker a lot of credit for understanding the psyche of its customers. The truth is, as awesome as the Autopilot tech sounds on paper, there are a lot of people that aren’t sold on it from a safety standpoint. None of us can escape the inherent fear of letting a computer drive your car. We all have it in different levels. Again, the whole autonomous driving looks great if you’re watching somebody else do it and you’re not in the car with them. But once you’re inside, there’s an entirely different level of anxiety that comes with having something drive your car for you. What if it makes a mistake and the car owner is held liable for whatever damages the car ends up causing?
To its credit, Tesla isn’t shoving the tech down anybody’s throats. If somebody likes it, great. If somebody passes up on it, that’s fine too. But this one-month free trial is a smart move because it can allow the skeptics to experience the tech first-hand so they can determine for themselves if it’s something that they’d like to have in their Teslas. Rest assured, one month is enough time to know what an owner is getting himself or herself into should they decide to get the Autopilot update.
And if they don’t, Tesla’s not going to force them to get it. That shows you understanding of what some drivers want in their cars and what some don’t. The truth is, autonomous driving could become the revolution that many people think it’ll be. But the other side of that truth is that the tech is still so new and unproven that it’s common for some people to want to see what it can do before jumping on board. That’s exactly why Tesla is offering this free trial.
I think it’s a great step to let the people experience it first-hand (and at no cost) before asking them to make a decision on whether they like it or not. And after all, $3,000 is a pricey software update.
Read our full review on the Tesla Model S here.