ELECTRIC CAR MAKER Tesla tends to keep the details of its work under lock and key, but now Elon Musk's company is plonking some of its automotive tech source code into the open source community.
Tesla dumped some of its code used to build the foundations of its Autopilot semi-autonomous driving tech and the infotainment system found on the Model S and Model X cars, which makes uses of Nvidia's Tegra chipset, on GitHub.
Even if you're code-savvy, don't go expecting to build your own autonomous driving platform on top of this source code, as Tesla has still kept the complete Autopilot framework under wraps, as well as deeper details of the infotainment system found in its cars. But it could give code wranglers a better look into how Tesla approaches building infotainment systems and giving its cars a dose of self-driving smarts.
You might think Tesla is being generous in open sourcing some of its code, given the stringent competition in the car world. But the move looks to be motivated by the company's violation of the General Public License (GPL).
Tesla builds Autopilot on top of open platforms such as Linux and BusyBox which, under GPL rules, requires users to share their source code, something Tesla has failed to do until now.
Tesla may have dragged its feet, but by open sourcing some of its source code, it has won the approval of the Software Freedom Conservancy.
"While Tesla acknowledges that they still have more work to do, their recent actions show progress toward compliance and a commitment to getting all the way there," the open source loving organisation said.
"We know many of you, particularly those Linux-savvy folks who bought Tesla vehicles, have reached high levels of frustration with the lengthy time this GPL compliance effort is taking. Nevertheless, this situation shows precisely why patience is essential for successful enforcement work; it gives us the opportunity to welcome violators to become contributors to the copyleft software community."
While getting a peek inside Tesla's Autopilot system sounds pretty interesting for people with a head for code, we'd be keen to see open source schematics to make our own Boring company-style flamethrower, because some people just want to watch the world burn. µ
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