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Tesla's Ride-Sharing Restriction Brings Software Style Licensing To Cars

Thinking of buying a self-driving car sometime in the future? Excited about the prospect of improving you return on investment by getting it to work for a living as part of a ride hailing taxi service? Best scratch Tesla from your shortlist of candidates then.

As part of its delayed news event earlier, Elon Musk announced a new Level 5 (that is, truly autonomous) mode available across the Tesla range.

Aside from very serious questions about how Tesla is overstating the capabilities of its system (something Germany, at least, is taking very seriously) it sounds like the perfect tool. Personal use when you need it. Ride sharing when you don't. The car pays for itself.

Unless you choose to use the, as yet, non-existent but now confirmed Tesla ride sharing offering you will be prevented from doing this. Uber? Lyft? Don't bother applying. Tesla's EULA will forbid it. No doubt its software will prevent it too, just in case you get any funny ideas.

This is automotive engineering from computer companies. In the same way that Apple dictates what you do with your iPhone, Tesla is going to use software licenses to dictate how you use your car.

I suspect this will be the thin edge of the wedge.