True to Elon Musk’s announcement during Tesla’s 2018 Annual Shareholder Meeting, the electric car company has started rolling out a 14-day free trial program for Enhanced Autopilot. Invitations for the program are being sent to Tesla owners who opted out of the driver-assist system when they purchased their vehicles.
This would be the second time that Tesla is offering its Autopilot software as a free trial to its customers. Tesla initially offered a similar program back in 2016, though the company was still utilizing the hardware of former partner MobilEye then. The current program stands as the first time Tesla is offering free trials for Enhanced Autopilot, a driver-assist system the company designed in-house. Here is a brief outline of what Tesla owners need to know about the ongoing Enhanced Autopilot free trial program.
The company expects all Model S, X, and 3 owners who have not purchased the driver-assist system to receive an invitation to the free trial program over the next few weeks. For vehicles to receive an invitation, owners must make sure that their cars are updated at least to software version 2018.28.1. Tesla notes that Enhanced Autopilot features — comprised of Autosteer, Traffic Aware Cruise Control (TACC), Auto Lane Change, Summon, and Autopark — will automatically be downloaded on cars that don’t have the feature installed as soon as the vehicles receive software update 2018.28.1 or later.
Standard Cruise Control
Owners who opt-in for Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot free trial should keep in mind that standard cruise control would not be accessible for the duration of the program. Instead, standard cruise control would be replaced by Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, which adjusts speed according to the flow of surrounding traffic. Standard cruise control would be reactivated after the 14-day Autopilot free trial ends.
Opting-out of the program
Owners have full control if they would like to participate in the free trial program or not. Upon receiving an invite, those who wish to opt-out of the program can select “I do not want to experience Enhanced Autopilot” on a notification displayed on their vehicle’s screen. To opt out of the program before the 14-day free trial period is over, owners must navigate to the “Autopilot” tab in the Settings menu, then select “Trial” near the top right of the display. A notification should appear allowing users to tap on “I do not want to experience Enhanced Autopilot.” Those that end the free trial before the 14-day period is over should expect their electric cars to reboot, which would remove Enhanced Autopilot from the vehicle.
Purchasing Enhanced Autopilot
Electric car owners have the option to purchase Enhanced Autopilot at any time during the free trial period. Purchasing the driver-assist suite could be done through the vehicle’s touchscreen or through a Tesla Account. Enhanced Autopilot costs $5,000 for Hardware 1 cars and $6,000 for vehicles equipped with Hardware 2. Those who wish to purchase Enhanced Autopilot from their vehicles must navigate to the free trial screen in the “Autopilot” tab in the Settings menu, and selecting the “Order Now” option. All Autopilot features would become permanently available after the system is purchased.
Tesla’s support page for the free trial program could be accessed here.
Tesla’s rollout of its free trial program comes as the company is setting the stage for the introduction of Software V9.0, a major update expected to introduce the first self-driving features for the Model S, X, and 3, together with a number of classic Atari games such as Pole Position. Musk previously announced on Twitter that Tesla is targeting version 9’s release sometime in August, but during the Q2 2018 earnings call, Musk stated that software V9 would likely be introduced in around four weeks, followed by a broad rollout in September.
“Right now, our focus (is) on the version 9 software release which has got a number of really cool things in it. And we’re hoping to get that out to early access program in about four weeks and then broadly in September. That’s the hardcore focus right now, and that will certainly include some significant advancements in autonomy,” Musk said.