So if it's a monthly payment to the automakers for Autopilot insurance, then how exactly is that different than paying an insurance company directly for 'autopilot' insurance? The only difference I see is that the automakers will be the middlemen and want a cut of the monthly fee, so it would be pricier than buying it direct.
What about used cars, once a car is sold, if I buy a used car, I have no relationship with a 'stealership' at that point, I purchased it from a private party, and don't go to the dealership for anything since their maintenence is overpriced and a rip. I either do my own work on a car, or pay an independent shop. With that said what happens to dealer supplied 'autopilot' insurance at that point, once the original owner sells the car?
What happens if the car is wrecked, do I still have to pay for the insurance premiums for a minimum amount of time (since they are tied to the purchase of the vehicle)... like what happens if you are on a cell phone contract and your phone breaks, you are not only out a phone(or car), but have to keep paying on a contract for an item you no longer have.
What if I refuse to purchase 'autopilot' insurance from the dealership, but then use the feature anyway. They can't force you to purchase and keep paying the monthly fee, and at this point, who knows if they lock out that feature remotely. If I get in a crash with autopilot on, and I claim I wasn't driving so I'm not responsible, but the insurance fee to the dealer has not been paid, who foots the bill. If you say the owner would foot the bill, then you are making the claim that in the end, the owner of the vehicle is responsible for autopilot, not the manufacturer.
That's why tacking on a 'lifetime' insurance premium to the price of a new car is the only real way that makes sense from the manufactuers/dealership to keep them from bearing the brunt of the cost and not getting ripped on the deal. However, it's opposite for the consumer, since bearing the full cost of insurance premiums in the purchase price of the vehicle is only going to make all these vehicles leaps and bounds more expensive to drive off the lot.
Others who claim this model would lead the market so that you never 'own' the vehicle and only lease it, or rent it from the manufacturer are probably somewhat accurate. However who wants that? You can never pay a vehicle off, will have monthly car payments for each car you own forever!? No way. That is a worse deal than (f)leasing a car is, which is a pretty bad deal economically for individuals. No thanks. If I have a car payment, I want to know that it's for a fixed amount of time, I can pay it off early (and save money), and once it's paid, the car is mine and in the clear for as long as I get usable life out of it, which may be a few more years or even decades if I want to be frugal and keep good maintenance performed.