Over 35,000 Tesla owners bought ‘fully self-driving’ feature despite still being unavailable, sources say

A year ago, Tesla launched its second generation Autopilot hardware (Autopilot 2.0) and announced the ‘Enhanced Autopilot’ and ‘Fully Self-Driving Capability’ packages.

At this point, it’s no secret that Tesla has been late to release software updates for the features promised under those new Autopilot packages. Nonetheless, new data obtained by Electrek shows that an impressive number of Tesla owners have been buying the options.

Out of the more than 90,000 vehicles with Autopilot 2.0 hardware in Tesla’s global fleet, the owners of about 77% of them have purchased ‘Enhanced Autopilot’ and ~40% have purchased ‘Fully Self-Driving Capability’, sources familiar with the matter told Electrek.

It means that over 35,000 Tesla vehicle owners have purchased the $3,000 ‘Fully Self-Driving Capability’, which is simply not yet released and Tesla doesn’t say when it plans to release it.

The automaker warns that the feature is “dependent upon extensive software validation and regulatory approval, which may vary greatly vary by jurisdiction.”

As for $5,000 ‘Enhanced Autopilot’, which is the base Autopilot packaged under Autopilot 2.0, it has been purchased by over 69,000 Tesla buyers over the last year – including those with ‘Fully Self-Driving Capability’ since it’s required to get the fully autonomous driving option.

Again, those are only software-enabled features since all vehicles are equipped with the same Autopilot 2.0 hardware, which consists of 8 cameras, one forward-looking radar, ultrasonic sensors, and a dedicated Autopilot computer. The hardware suite was slightly updated earlier this summer with a new hardware package called Autopilot 2.5.

Even the Tesla vehicles of those who don’t purchase any Autopilot package, which we now learn is fewer than one out of four buyers, have the same hardware. They can decide to enable the features remotely later, but they are both $1,000 more expensive than purchased before delivery.

Electrek’s Take

To be honest, those numbers are surprising me – especially for the ‘Fully Self-Driving Capability’. I suppose those people are really confident that Tesla will deliver on the feature and they don’t want to pay the extra $1,000 when they do.

Currently, that’s over $100 million worth of option that Tesla hasn’t delivered and technically can’t recognize revenue on until they enable it.

Some owners have expressed frustration that Tesla’s Autopilot program is not moving as fast as CEO Elon Musk predicted when launching Autopilot 2.0 last year.

Tesla had to virtually rebuild its Autopilot 1.0 features using its own computer vision system. They arguably did it now that Autopilot 2.0 has comparable features as the first generation of the system first launched 2015, but the more advanced features promised under ‘Enhanced Autopilot’ and ‘Fully Self-Driving Capability’ have yet to make it to the fleet.

The rate of new updates seem to have slowed down this summer, but Tesla started gathering more data from its fleet earlier this year and hired a new head of AI and Autopilot vision in order to help make the features a reality.

We should have a better idea of where Tesla is with the program by the end of the year as the company says it still plans a 100% autonomous cross-country demonstration drive in the next few months.

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Avatar for Fred Lambert Fred Lambert

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