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Tesla is planning to offer a free trial for Autopilot

Tesla is planning to offer a free trial for Autopilot

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Tesla owners without Autopilot may get an unexpected chance to try out the company’s self-driving system. At a shareholder meeting today, Elon Musk announced plans for a free trial of Autopilot to be released “within the next couple months.” He did not elaborate on terms or length of the trial. Enhanced Autopilot costs an additional $5,000 at purchase in the current generation of Teslas, or an additional $1,000 if it’s purchased after the car itself.

Tesla’s Autopilot is still under active development, and Musk promised significant improvements in a new version to be rolled out to drivers this month, with even more significant updates in the months to come. “The reliability and capability of Autopilot will increase exponentially over the next six to twelve months,” Musk predicted. “The improvements are very rapid.”

Tesla’s Autopilot has come under fire in recent months after a fatal crash in March, in which a driver crashed headfirst into a safety barrier on Highway 101. Tesla has pledged to regularly release safety data as the Autopilot system develops, moving towards the goal of a fully autonomous fleet by the end of 2019.