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Tesla will make its fully autonomous mode accessible to more drivers

Tesla Model 3
(Image credit: Tesla)

Tesla's Full Self-Driving (FSD) mode will be available to customers through a monthly subscription from 2021, according to CEO Elon Musk. 

In a tweet, the tech mogul revealed plans to introduce a subscription service "early next year" that will allow customers to access FSD on a month-to-month basis. Currently, drivers are having to fork out $10,000 (around £7,600) – a figure which increased by 25% in October – to add the driving mode to Autopilot, the Tesla advanced driving system. 

It's worth noting that the regulations for autonomous driving technology are still strict in many countries around the world – the FSD software can't legally be used in the UK, and only a few US states allow it, for example – so it's likely that next year's subscription rollout will only apply to customers in certain areas of the US.

According to the company, the FSD computer – while still requiring active driver supervision – is capable of delivering "intelligent performance and control to enable a new level of safety and autonomy."

In its current state, this means Tesla vehicles are able to maneuver around other vehicles and objects, as well as make turns and navigate highway ramps without the need for driver intervention. 

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An improving technology

Despite some early teething problems – a beta warning advised customers that the system "may do the wrong thing at the worst time" – Tesla's FSD mode is improving by the month thanks to regular software updates and crowd-sourced data. 

Most recently, a prominent Tesla vlogger captured the moment his vehicle managed to autonomously navigate San Francisco's notoriously-twisty Lombard street. 

It's clear the technology is improving, and while it may not roll out on the streets of the world as quickly as Elon Musk hopes – Europe is still yet to be convinced of its safety – plans to introduce a subscription service suggest a commitment to making the software as accessible to as many customers as possible. 

Not that accessible means cheap, mind. 

Via Mashable

Axel Metz

Axel is a London-based Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from Elon Musk to robot butlers as part of the site's daily news output. He also has a degree in English Literature, meaning he can occasionally be spotted slipping Hemingway quotes into stories about electric sports cars.