Autocar writes, "Tesla could licence its Full Self-Driving (FSD) technology to other car manufacturers, CEO Elon Musk has said." Yes, it's true, Musk did make such a mention during one of his speeches at Tesla's AI Day event last evening, 19 August 2021.
This comes as no surprise. Tesla has said for year that its patents are up for grabs, at least sort of. It has also offered to share its Supercharger network with other automakers. There has even been talk over the years about Tesla licensing to other brands.
If you didn't get a chance to check out AI Day, we'll tell you that a lot of the content was pretty complex, though most Tesla owners likely just tried to focus in on the impact to the brand's Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Beta technology, which are constantly under fire from by the media and safety organisations.
Not only has Musk promised "Full" Self-Driving tech for years, but also admitted that it's much more difficult than anyone – including himself – could imagine. Nonetheless, Tesla and Musk still tout the technology, its unique pure-vision approach, and its reliance on Artificial Intelligence. While a few other automakers do rely primarily on vision, Tesla seems to be the only brand really pushing the AI angle. In fact, Musk claims that Tesla is the true leader in the field.
During the event, Musk was asked if Tesla may eventually open-source the FSD software. He replied via Autocar:
“Well, it is fundamentally extremely expensive to create the system, so somehow that has to be paid for. Unless people want to work for free."
“But I should say that, if other car companies want to licence it and use it in their cars, that’d be cool. This is not intended to just be limited to Tesla cars.”
As expected, his answer wasn't a solid yes or no, but he said "that'd be cool." Musk seemed to make it clear that Tesla may be willing to license it, and that it wasn't just produced for use on Tesla's vehicles. However, he noted that it wold be very expensive. If Tesla is charging folks $10,000 (or $199 per month) for incomplete FSD Beta software that most can't yet even access, we can't imagine what Tesla might charge other brands to license it.
If Tesla's FSD really gets to the point that some fans and owners expect, it may be worth it for other brands to pay up the big funds. It could mean saving years and years of development and plenty of money. Plus, the brands could charge customers for it, just as Tesla does, which could alleviate the licensing costs.
Now that Tesla has publicly announced sharing its Supercharger network, is it only a matter of time before it shares other tech or allows automakers to license software?
Sadly, nobody at InsideEVs has had a chance to check out Tesla's latest version of Full Self-Driving Beta. We also don't have a Beta tester or access to a Beta tester on our staff. However, Kyle Conner got to check out the technology early on. We've embedded his video below. It seems Tesla has made much progress since this video, though it still has a long way to go: