Tesla could licence its Full Self-Driving (FSD) technology to other car manufacturers, CEO Elon Musk has said.
The entrepreneur was speaking at Tesla’s AI Day presentation, during which he went into detail about recent developments behind the firm’s controversial autonomous driving system.
Musk has for years insisted that Tesla’s self-driving tech is safer than having a human behind the wheel, but earlier this week, US authorities launched a formal investigation into the company’s Autopilot system after nearly a dozen crashes involving Tesla vehicles that resulted in 17 people being injured and one killed.
Asked if Tesla would commit to open-sourcing its software, Musk replied: “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.”
Such a move would allow rival car manufacturers to introduce a degree of autonomous driving ability to their models without investing the vast amounts of money required to develop such a system from scratch.
In any case, most industry experts believe that truly autonomous vehicles won’t be introduced for decades, while complex legal and insurance issues need to be resolved before such technology can be permitted on a global scale.
However, Musk maintains that Tesla’s next-generation Full Self-Driving system “will be able to achieve full self-driving at a safety level much greater than a human, probably at least 200% or 300% better than a human."
He added: “Then, obviously, there will be a future hardware 4 Full Self-Driving computer 2, which we'll probably introduce with Cybertruck, so maybe in about a year or so. That will be about four times more capable, roughly."
The comments come just a month after Musk announced that Tesla’s Supercharger network - often regarded as the most reliable and widely available in the world - will be opened up to non-Tesla vehicles for the first time later this year.