Tesla made headlines recently with its Q4 and Full Year 2022 financial results, an annual occurrence where the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, usually spills the beans regarding the upcoming features and changes to the American EV maker’s vehicles.
And even though there were some solid statements that a lot of people were expecting, like the confirmed production start of the Cybertruck in Summer 2023 and the upcoming launch of the more powerful Hardware 4 computer, the company’s chief executive officer might have inadvertently let down every single Tesla owner who paid thousands of dollars over the price of the car to get the Full Self-Driving (FSD) pack.
Elon Musk was asked if current Tesla owners would be able to retrofit the latest-generation Autopilot computer onto their current cars, to which he responded with:
“The cost and difficulty of retrofitting Hardware 3 with Hardware 4 is quite significant. So it would not be, I think, economically feasible to do so.”
Tesla’s CEO went on to say, however, that he still expects the company to achieve the promises made over time with the current Hardware 3:
“Hardware 3 will not be as good as Hardware 4, but I’m confident that Hardware 3 will so far exceed the safety of the average human. So how do we get ultimately to – let’s say, for argument’s sake, if Hardware 3 can be, say, 200% or 300% safer than humans, Hardware 4 might be 500% or 600%. It will be Hardware 5 beyond that. But what really matters is are we improving the average safety on the road.”
With a current price of $15,000 in the US, Tesla’s FSD does just about everything the cheaper Enhanced Autopilot feature does, but adds Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control, according to the marque’s website. That’s $9,000 over Enhanced Autopilot, which costs $6,000, just for the car’s ability to detect and react to traffic lights and stop signs.
In the past, people who paid for FSD got a hardware upgrade from the previous Hardware 2.5 to the current Hardware 3 which is based on Tesla’s own chip and offers much more computing power than its predecessor.
Even so, according to legislators and the SAE Levels of Driving Automation, the American company’s so-called full self-driving feature is still considered to be a Level 2 system, considering it needs the driver to be alert at all times, ready to intervene in case the system disengages. It also means that Tesla is not liable in case something goes wrong, with the responsibility fully in the driver’s hands.