HomeGarageEver wonder what driver-assist technology will cost?

Ever wonder what driver-assist technology will cost?

It can be expensive to be able to take your hands off the steering wheel


If you’re perusing this website, you not only know MPG and RPM, but DOHC and even CFM. But do you know ADAS?

ADAS is short for Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems, automotive technology that uses cameras and computers and various sensors to alert a driver to potentially dangerous situations and, taken to the extreme, can supplant that driver, not only in a dangerous situation but, we’re promised, in every driving situation.

“2021 looks to be a big year for hands-free driving systems,” reports Autolist.com, a website created to ease the car-buying or -selling process. 

“General Motors will begin rolling out its Super Cruise setup in multiple Chevy, GMC and Cadillac models; Ford will make its system functional on certain Mach E and F-150 trims; and Tesla is widely expected to make its Full Self-Driving feature available on a subscription basis,” Autolist.com continues.

“While none of these systems are truly self-driving or autonomous, interest in them is high. We at Autolist.com were curious about how consumers viewed these ADAS and future self-driving setups. So, we polled nearly 3,400 current car shoppers in early 2021 to find out.”

And what did that survey disclose? 

“Our survey found that 44 percent of consumers would prefer to pay for ADAS or self-driving features upfront rather than subscribing.”

Only 18 percent said they would prefer ADAS on a subscription basis.

I drive a pickup truck with 180,000 miles on the odo, so it’s been a while since I’ve visited a car dealership showroom, but my reaction was one of surprise, surprise that self-driving technology was something you might get on a monthly subscription basis, like satellite radio or OnStar, or like your smartphone or home garbage service. 

Autolist founder and president Corey Lydstone also was surprised, but from a much different perspective.

“Frankly, we were surprised more shoppers didn’t prefer subscriptions in this survey,” Lydstone is quoted. “When you consider the high upfront cost of these systems and how many other services we all subscribe to in our daily lives, we expected them to be a shoo-in.”

High up-front cost?

Autolist says Tesla charges $10,000 for its Full Self-Driving system, that Cadillac’s Super Cruise is $2,500 on the 2021 Escalade SUV, and that Ford will offer Active Drive Assist for $1,595 on the F-150 and for $3,200 on the Mustang Mach E.

It added that GM plans to charge $25 a month for ADAS, though that figure drops to $15 for those already subscribing to OnStar.

“Since it’s early days for these assisted-driving systems, it’s clear automakers are still figuring out just how much of their costs the consumer is willing to absorb,” Lydstone explained. “But with brands like GM and Ford adding these systems to a wider variety of vehicles – including some of their top sellers – we expect costs to decrease quickly.”

He also offered a reason why the automakers would like the subscription setup: “A key appeal of subscriptions for automakers is the consistent revenue stream they offer throughout multiple owners of a single vehicle.”

Which brings us to those who prefer less rather than more technology in our vehicles. I’m not such a fuddy duddy that I want to go back to hand-crank starters or bias-ply tires, and, yes, I think power steering and ABS and backup cameras are wonderful things.

But as long as I am able, I prefer to drive myself. I’ve driven new vehicles with lane-keeping and other “driver assist” systems and I don’t like arguing with the car I’m attempting to drive. I know how to stay within my lane, and I know how to hit the apex of a curve on an open and empty stretch of winding roadway. 

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. So long as I have a choice in the matter there will not be a self driving vehicle in my driveway. My greatest concern though is that certain government agencies will only see some mythical “safety” aspects of self driving vehicles and attempt to take away that choice, thus ignoring the Constitution.

  2. The current benchmark for safety is “as safe as today”. Hmmm…. why do it? Because they can(doubt it). The push isn’t coming from consumers, read, buying public. Same story as electric vehicles. When you put them together you can expect the cost of a vehicle to double. Look at Tesla Model 3. Also, Tesla only reported a profit because of the EV credits they sold not because of car revenue. All while China doubles their coal powered plants and will emit more carbon than we will save. No EV or self driving for me ever.


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