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Tesla Bans Customers From Using Autonomous Cars To Earn Money Ride-Sharing ( 305

Late Wednesday, Tesla announced the Model X and Model S electric vehicles, boasting that they will come with the necessary hardware to drive completely autonomously at some point in the future. Naturally, one of the frequent questions that followed the event was: "Can I use my Tesla car as a Uber driver?" Well, Tesla was anticipating this question and even buried the answer on its website. From an ArsTechnica report: On Tesla's website, the section that describes the new "Full Self-Driving Capability" (A $3,000 option at the time of purchase, $4,000 after the fact) states "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."
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Tesla Bans Customers From Using Autonomous Cars To Earn Money Ride-Sharing

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  • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @01:32PM (#53116211) Homepage
    If it's good enough to drive at all, it's good enough to be put to use for the purpose I bought it. That purpose might well be a revenue-earning ride sharing thing. Sounds like they're looking for a rent cut from your own purchased car.
    • by avandesande ( 143899 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @01:39PM (#53116263) Journal
      Or maybe, just maybe don't want to be liable for problems when a customer is using it for profit?
      • by zlives ( 2009072 )

        so it doesn't work? other wise why is it ok to use for end user?
        can the end user selfdrive and be an uber driver?

        the lawsuit will be interesting

      • They specifically state that it is only permissible on their upcoming "Tesla Network", which is presumably their own version of Uber or Lyft, so it seems likely that this probably is about both liability AND profits. You can't use it on any other ride sharing network, and I'll bet the terms of use for their network specifically waives liability for them.

        • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @02:09PM (#53116581)

          This is likely to result in Antitrust actions against Tesla, for the same reason that Ford can't run their own gas station chain and ban you from using fuel supplied by other brands. You don't have to be a monopoly for it to be illegal for you to attempt to restrict a manufactured good to your particular service, when there are otherwise competing options.

    • Out of curiosity, when freeware is licensed to be free for personal use but paid for business use, is this generally enforceable? If so, then that'll be the precedent. I've seen language like that in EULAs but as we know that doesn't always mean much.
      • by zlives ( 2009072 )

        only difference is that you are not getting the car for free.

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        VMWare used to (and maybe still does?) have a license that said you couldn't use their hypervisor in a hosting environment, at least with the conventional end-user license. This was long enough ago that that at the time the business hosting really meant either multi-tenant http hosting on a single box, or dedicated physical server hosting and there was no openstack or similar competing virtualization system like there is now.

        I'm guessing that it was meant to allow VMware to "capture" the added revenue pote

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      You see, when you "buy" a Tesla, what you're really getting is a time unlimited lease agreement with stipulations on how it can be used. Much the same as if you "bought" a DVD or Apple product, it remains the sole property of the manufacturer and you're just permitted to use it in exchange for money.

      That purpose might well be a revenue-earning ride sharing thing

      Then they don't have to worry, your Tesla will depreciate faster than you could earn from Uber at its sub minimum wage levels. Then we have consuma

    • If it's good enough to drive at all, it's good enough to be put to use for the purpose I bought it. That purpose might well be a revenue-earning ride sharing thing. Sounds like they're looking for a rent cut from your own purchased car.

      Oh, you own the car alright, but you license the self-driving software...

  • by RumGunner ( 457733 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @01:34PM (#53116227) Homepage

    Give us a lot of money, and you get no ownership of anything. Welcome to the World of Tomorrow!

    • Just like real estate. Stop paying property taxes and see how long you "own" your house before the county forecloses.
      • by mark-t ( 151149 )

        It depends on where your house is.

        Which county do you pay property taxes to if your house is on international waters?

        You only need to pay mooring fees when you dock.

      • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

        ...and the "cloud" -- if it's in the "cloud", someone else owns it. Even when they tell you you own it.

        It's not on your hardware, it's not on your software, it's not in your storage, it's not on your premises, and you have zero control over any of the actual foregoing locations / instances.

        But hey, everyone, keep that cloud-ward stampede going. They love ya for it.

        • It's not on your hardware, it's not on your software, it's not in your storage, it's not on your premises, and you have zero control over any of the actual foregoing locations / instances.

          That's why I'm pulling my data out of the could. If I keep anything in the cloud, it will be encrypted backups.

      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        Just like real estate. Stop paying property taxes and see how long you "own" your house before the county forecloses.

        This can be a short or long time, potentially. After you fail to pay your taxes, they can put the lien against your property, and then resell your debt to investors.....

        Who can then earn a high amount of interest on your debt, and they'll foreclose when they are good and ready.
        I.E. After the compounding interest and penalties increase the debt as much as possible, but equal or les

    • Well, you get what you pay for. It's not like Tesla is the only car manufacturer you can choose from.
  • Much as I detest Uber, this is just wrong, unless Tesla plans to adopt a lease-only model.

    • Yeah, essentially they say that their cars can only be used for noncommercial purposes. I just hope that the other car manufacturers don't follow the tesla lead on this, as often when the leader in an industry decides to fuck customers, the followers do the same.

  • Are they just covering their asses liability-wise, or are they really trying to put restrictions on how I use their product after I bought it? I own it, dammit! It's none of their business if I decide to use it for my mobile pet grooming business or anything else.

  • Once you buy it, it is YOUR CAR, and you can do with it whatever you please. Tesla has no right whatsoever to constrict what you can do with your car. That's what "selling" means: giving up ownership rights. And before you ask: no, you are not "merely licensing" the car.

    Next up: supermarket tells you buying potatoes is fine, but not if you plan to serve them in a restaurant...

    • Well they could disable access to the travel data stream--a resource you're continuously using, maintained by them, at a cost of loads and loads of money per year diffused through thousands of consumers.

      400 million copies of Windows XP sold. If they paid 270 programmers full-time for 10 years to develop and maintain XP, Microsoft would have made a profit selling it at $1. What's Tesla's incentive to keep up with firmware and data updates?

      For what it's worth, the 2009 DVD to update the 2004 Mazda 3's i

    • Uh huh... Might want to get on the ship already sailing... []
  • I wish I could be more surprised; but that just isn't an option.

    Between the ongoing and aggressive expansion of what software EULAs claim the right to restrict; and the truly amazing contractual terms you can impose without anyone saying mean things like 'unconscionable' or 'contract of adhesion'; what would you expect to happen?

    This thing is loaded with firmware that never leaves the vendor's control(either legally, since the claim is that it is licensed not sold; or in practice, since it remains in
    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      There can be no legitimate EULA for a Tesla. EULAs operate on the principle of a licensing contract which allows the user to copy copyrighted software. When you buy a car, the software is already there, the user isn't copying anything. No different than buying a book or a CD. Even the copying of software during upgrades is done by the manufacturer and not the user, so again no need for the user to license the software in any way.
      • Genuine question, but has Microsoft had any problems enforcing the Windows EULA? Because when I buy a computer, the software is already there too.

        • by msauve ( 701917 )
          When the EULA screen pops up, I just put a post-it note over the text they provide, which says "By clicking ACCEPT, I can do any damn thing I want with the computer I just bought. Microsoft can go to hell." Then I click ACCEPT. Onerous contracts of adhesion work the same both ways.
  • I highly doubt you need to earn a few extra bucks by ride sharing.
    • But say you bought a fleet of them just to rent out as a taxi service.

      In fact, why not have a fleet of them be a taxi service? No people required.

      That's related to this article []. It was talking about who get to own the fruits of automation -- if I own a fleet of androids/robots and hire them out as lawyers or doctors (and they are fully trained and knowledgeable about whatever field I program them with), do I get full benefit from their employment?

      What if I bought them from a tesla -- do they get to claim

    • Maybe they're more worried about Uber buying the cars themselves?
  • So self-driving cars are now a full reality and all the problems have been solved? Huh. That was quick.

  • Like has to do with liability issues and maybe the need to have some ready to take over in case things go bad + will also take the blame.

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @01:45PM (#53116341)
    I supported Tesla's position on disintermediating the US car dealer structure so that Tesla can be allowed to sell cars directly to consumers. I didn't realize they would try abusing antitrust regs elsewhere for their own benefit. Companies are against anti-trust behavior except their own.
  • I've never been in a Tesla. But there's a nice looking one that's always in my parking garage.

    Would I pay a bit to have it take me somewhere?

    Yes! Especially with aggressive acceleration. To see what it is like.

    Can I afford one, maybe one day.

    Would someone that could afford one drive people around?

    I don't think so.

  • This is further proof of inbred ideology that all of the software industry (other than some of open source) subscribes to - that you own the product even after you sell it and are perfectly within your rights to dictate how it should be used. Remember that your Tesla comes with a built-in DRM, they do have an ability to disable it if they don't like how you using it.
    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      Physical ability, maybe, legal ability, no. Tesla cars currently do not come with any form of contract limiting what you may do with the vehicle. When you buy one you sign a form saying that you bought it, but no limitations at all on your use of it.

      Now maybe a lease would be different as technically Tesla would still own the vehicle, but for sales, Tesla transfers all ownership rights to the new owner, and does not retain any.

  • Consumer: While artificial intelligence may one day provide many benefits for humanity, in the immediate term, these advances have the potential to be incredibly disruptive and even harmful to our culture, economy, and legal system. Thus the widespread dissemination of these technologies must be deliberate and carefully considered..

    Tesla: Don't worry about it, that won't be an issue.

    Consumer: Really? You've figured out some way to limit the harm?

    Tesla: No, we've found a way to limit those "benefits to hum

  • All that's ringing through my head is "..and the next wave of 'We'll 'help you' starts."

  • Using your car as a self-driving taxi may work in the short term, while competing with regular taxis. But in the long term this scheme is doomed. Using self-driving taxis will be much cheaper than owning a car. There will be only one reason to own a car - as a status symbol. And hence - taxis will be completely different from owned cars.
    - Most of them will be designed for 2-3 people. Small and cute-looking on the outside, very spacious on the inside - see the google car.
    - No driving wheel, dashboard, peda
    • by mark-t ( 151149 )

      Using self-driving taxis will be much cheaper than owning a car.

      Just how cheap are you thinking it will get? Right now, when I take a cab to the airport from my place, I'm looking at it being about $50, while my car, which is not even particularly fuel economical by the way, uses about $3 for the same trip. Uber is cheaper than cabs, but not anywhere close that much.

  • Am I the only one getting tired of the unbelievable arrogance of companies like Tesla who want to tell you what you can do with your own property?

    Or perhaps Tesla's position is that they are only licensing you to use the car. In that case, they need to be honest and call it a rental or a lease; claiming that they're selling you a car is just fraudulent.

  • Didn't someone once say something about sealed hoods? Comparison to Microsoft... Something, something... I must not be remembering all the details correctly because Google isn't returning anything on my search queries. If I remember correctly it wasn't someone predicting something but more like a jab at how Microsoft was running their company. For some reason, all that just felt appropriate here. But I could be remembering it all wrong and I'll take the down vote to hell for my lack of recall.

  • If I buy a tesla car with this function, I can use it for Uber or whatever I like (as long as it's legal). Tesla cannot forbid you to use the function for commercial purposes..

"You must have an IQ of at least half a million." -- Popeye