Tesla Autopilot now available as a free, one-month trial

Johnny-come-lately can try Tesla's autonomous features for free.

Tesla Model S Autopilot dashboard
Tesla Model S Autopilot dashboard / Image Credit: Tesla Motors
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If you've purchased a car in recent years, it's quite possible it comes equipped with satellite radio or some other additional service you may or may not find interesting. Often, the car will come with a free trial of those products, which you may find yourself using more than you thought. Then, by the time your free subscription ends, you're hooked.

While every car Tesla makes – and has made since late 2014 – is equipped with the hardware to take advantage of limited self-driving technology, some customers either don't think they'll use Autopilot, or don't really want to plop down an extra $2,500 when they're already spending thousands of hard-earned dollars on a brand new electric car. For owners unexcited about Autopilot (this woman, for example), and for whom a fear of missing out didn't get them to pull the trigger on it the first time around, Tesla is offering an opportunity to try the autonomous features for free.

In a post on Reddit, a Tesla owner took a picture of a notification on their center touchscreen offering a one-month trial of Autopilot at no cost. The message reads as follows:

"Try Autopilot Convenience Features and experience a stress-free commute. This one-month free trial enables automatic steering, speed, lane changing, and parking with Summon. Once your trial begins, you'll receive an email with instructions for permanently upgrading your Tesla."

While customers can unlock Autopilot for $2,500 when they order their car, owners downloading it as an afterthought will have to shell out $3,000 to make Autopilot a permanent part of their lives. Offering a month-long trial is sure to entice curious drivers, whether or not they think it's something they want to keep. After that month is up, though, a number of owners will surely wonder how they lived without the technology for so long in the first place. They'll get to enjoy the (potentially lifesaving) technology everyone is so interested in, while Tesla will enjoy a nice payday, bolstered by that additional $500 they wouldn't get if the driver had sprung for Autopilot when they ordered their vehicle.

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