Is Tesla’S Full Self-Driving Capability Worth The Cost?

The advent of autonomous driving technologies like Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) capability has sparked both excitement and apprehension. With a simple over-the-air software update, Tesla vehicles equipped with FSD gain advanced driver-assist features like automatic lane changing, smart summon, auto park and the ability to automatically drive from on-ramp to off-ramp on highways.

But with a steep $12,000 price tag, is FSD worth the investment for the average Tesla owner?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: while FSD shows promise, it is still considered a Level 2 driver-assist system and requires an attentive human driver. The large price tag may not yet justify FSD’s capabilities for many owners.

However, as the technology matures, FSD may become a worthwhile investment – especially at its current monthly subscription price of $199.

What is Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Capability?

Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) capability refers to the advanced autonomous driving features that Tesla vehicles offer. With FSD, Tesla aims to create a fully autonomous driving experience where the car can navigate, change lanes, and even park itself without any input from the driver.

FSD is designed to make driving safer, more convenient, and ultimately, reduce the need for human intervention on the road.

Overview of FSD features and capabilities

Tesla’s FSD comes with a range of features and capabilities that enhance the driving experience. These include Autosteer, Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC), Autopark, and Navigate on Autopilot. Autosteer allows the vehicle to stay within its lane and steer automatically on highways and some other roads.

TACC helps maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead by adjusting the car’s speed accordingly. Autopark enables the vehicle to parallel or perpendicular park itself with minimal driver input. Navigate on Autopilot allows the car to handle more complex driving tasks, such as navigating highway interchanges and overtaking slower vehicles.

FSD is not yet fully autonomous driving

It’s important to note that Tesla’s FSD is not yet fully autonomous driving. While the technology is highly advanced, it still requires driver supervision and is classified as a Level 2 driver-assistance system according to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) guidelines.

This means that the driver must remain engaged and ready to take control of the vehicle at any time. Tesla emphasizes the need for drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel and be prepared to intervene if necessary.

FSD’s progress on Tesla’s 5 levels of autonomy

Tesla has outlined a roadmap for achieving full autonomy, known as the “Tesla Autopilot Hardware 3.0 and Full Self-Driving Computer.” It consists of five levels of autonomy, ranging from Level 0 (no automation) to Level 5 (full automation).

As of now, Tesla’s vehicles equipped with FSD are at Level 2, where the driver assists the system but is still responsible for the vehicle’s operation. Tesla is actively working towards achieving higher levels of autonomy, with regular software updates that introduce new features and improvements to FSD capabilities.

The Pros of FSD Capability

Convenience of assisted driving features

One of the major advantages of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) capability is the convenience it offers through its assisted driving features. With features like Autopilot, drivers can experience a more relaxed and enjoyable driving experience.

Autopilot can assist with tasks such as steering, accelerating, and braking, making long drives or traffic jams less stressful. This can lead to a more comfortable and safer journey for the driver and passengers.

Access to cutting-edge autonomous tech

Tesla’s FSD capability provides access to cutting-edge autonomous technology. The company is constantly developing and improving its self-driving software, incorporating advanced features such as Navigate on Autopilot, which allows the vehicle to change lanes and navigate highway interchanges automatically.

By investing in FSD, Tesla owners have the opportunity to be at the forefront of autonomous driving technology and experience the latest advancements firsthand.

Potential for future full autonomous driving

While Tesla’s FSD capability is not fully autonomous yet, it has the potential to become so in the future. Tesla is actively working towards achieving full self-driving capabilities, and with regular software updates, owners can expect their vehicles to become more autonomous over time.

By purchasing FSD now, owners are essentially future-proofing their vehicles, ensuring they will be ready for full autonomous driving once it becomes available.

May increase resale value

Investing in Tesla’s FSD capability may also increase the resale value of the vehicle. As autonomous driving technology becomes more prevalent and sought after, vehicles equipped with FSD may be in higher demand among buyers.

This could potentially result in a higher resale value compared to vehicles without FSD. By considering the long-term value of their investment, Tesla owners can potentially benefit financially from their FSD-equipped vehicles in the future.

The Cons of FSD Capability

High upfront cost of $12,000

One of the main drawbacks of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) capability is its high upfront cost. Currently priced at $12,000, this additional feature can significantly increase the price of a Tesla vehicle.

For many potential buyers, this may be a deterrent, especially considering that FSD capability is still a work in progress and not fully autonomous.

Still requires attentive human monitoring

Despite its name, the Full Self-Driving capability still requires human monitoring. Tesla’s Autopilot system is designed to assist drivers, not replace them entirely. Drivers are expected to remain attentive and ready to take control of the vehicle at any time.

This means that while FSD capability can offer convenience and assistance, it does not allow for complete hands-off driving.

Frequent software updates may be disruptive

Tesla vehicles equipped with FSD capability often receive frequent software updates. While these updates are intended to improve performance and add new features, they can also be disruptive. Updates may require the vehicle to be parked and connected to Wi-Fi for an extended period of time, which can be inconvenient for owners who rely on their vehicles daily.

Additionally, software updates may occasionally introduce bugs or glitches that need to be resolved, causing further inconvenience.

Full autonomy remains elusive

Despite Tesla’s advancements in autonomous driving technology, achieving full autonomy is still a challenge. While FSD capability offers impressive features like automatic lane changes and navigating complex roadways, it falls short of true self-driving capability.

The technology is continuously evolving, and there are still legal and regulatory hurdles to overcome before fully autonomous vehicles become a reality.

Is FSD Worth It for You?

Consider your budget and use case

Before deciding whether Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) capability is worth the cost, it’s essential to consider your budget and use case. FSD is a premium feature that comes with an additional price tag, so it’s important to ensure that it aligns with your financial situation.

If you’re on a tight budget, it may be more reasonable to opt for Tesla’s standard Autopilot features, which still offer a high level of driver-assist functionality.

Additionally, your use case plays a significant role in determining the value of FSD. If you frequently drive long distances or spend a significant amount of time in traffic, the convenience and added safety features of FSD may be highly beneficial for you.

On the other hand, if you mainly use your vehicle for short commutes and rarely encounter challenging driving situations, the value of FSD may be less pronounced.

Evaluate alternate driver-assist systems

While Tesla’s FSD capability is highly advanced, it’s crucial to evaluate alternate driver-assist systems available in the market. Compare the features, performance, and reliability of other autonomous driving technologies offered by competing car manufacturers.

Look for independent reviews and consumer feedback to get a comprehensive understanding of how these systems perform in real-world scenarios.

By considering alternatives, you can make a more informed decision regarding whether FSD is the best option for you. It’s worth noting that different driver-assist systems may have different strengths and weaknesses, so it’s essential to prioritize the features that align with your specific needs.

Try the monthly FSD subscription

If you’re hesitant about committing to the upfront cost of FSD, Tesla now offers a monthly subscription option for the feature. This allows you to experience the benefits of FSD without a long-term financial commitment.

By trying out the monthly subscription, you can evaluate firsthand how well FSD fits your driving habits and preferences.

During the subscription period, you can assess the level of autonomy, safety features, and overall user experience provided by FSD. This trial period can help you make a more informed decision about whether it’s worth investing in the full feature permanently.

Look ahead to future FSD developments

When considering the value of FSD, it’s important to look beyond the current capabilities and consider future developments. Tesla is constantly working on improving FSD through software updates and advancements in hardware technology.

Keeping an eye on the company’s roadmap and announcements can give you insights into the potential future benefits of FSD.

By staying informed about upcoming features and enhancements, you can assess whether the long-term value of FSD aligns with your expectations and needs. It’s always exciting to anticipate new functionalities that may enhance the driving experience and improve the overall safety of autonomous vehicles.


While Tesla’s FSD capability holds exciting promise for autonomous driving, its high price tag may not yet provide enough functionality and convenience for many owners. For some, FSD may be worth the investment in cutting-edge technology and potential future capabilities.

But for most, basic Autopilot driving assistance or monthly FSD subscription may be the better choice for now. As regulations and technology continue advancing, FSD may eventually become a must-have feature.

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