The future of automobile is here. Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO announced on Wednesday that his company would be adding an advanced feature to their Model X and S electric vehicles which will enable it up to Level 5 autonomy. In automotive language, Level 5 means a self-driving vehicle.
Musk added that it will take them some time before this advanced feature becomes active but he stressed that all new cars will come with the hardware suite even if the new software is not activated yet.
Tesla’s new hardware suite will have eight cameras to give you a 360-degree view. It also has forward facing radar equipped with advanced processing and 12 ultrasonic sensors. But that’s not all, the car also comes with an Nvidia Titan GPU which is able to do 12 trillion operations per second.
This is pretty exciting news to all the car aficionados out there. However, this new technology comes with a few restrictions. Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) announced that Tesla car owners are prohibited from using their vehicles for Lyft, Uber, and a couple other ride-sharing services.
“Please note also that using a self-driving Tesla for car sharing and ride hailing for friends and family is fine, but doing so for revenue purposes will only be permissible on the Tesla Network, details of which will be released next year,” Tesla announced.
The reason behind this ruling is because of what Tesla calls its Master Plan 2. Musk noted that the company is planning their own ride-sharing network which reportedly will be called “Tesla Network.” However, there is little to no information about this plan yet.
While some might think Tesla’s ride-sharing regulation is a bit extreme, this is not really the first time a car company has imposed post-sale conditions on its customers. Note that Ferrari also placed conditions with regards to some of their car models. They insist that customers who purchase some of their most expensive cars – like Enzo or LaFerrari – are forbidden to resell them before a certain period of time.
It’s also worth noting that Tesla’s ruling does not directly prohibit owners of the Model X and S cars to work as drivers for other ride-sharing companies as long as they’re the ones driving it. But sending your Tesla to work for a ride-sharing company that is now own by Tesla while you sit comfortably at home will not be allowed.
Meanwhile, getting back to Tesla’s Level 5 autonomy feature, the Palo Alto, California-based automaker is still testing the system but if it works Musk said they plan to take a person from Los Angeles to New York without laying a finger on the steering wheel.
Sounds impressive? Sure. But then again, patience is a virtue. The best approach, particularly after the scrutiny Tesla’s Autopilot system has been under lately, it would be to first see the actual results their announced dry run will produce by the end of this year.