Why Autonomous Vehicles Should Be Open Source

in tesla •  4 months ago

After attending the Defcon conference Elon Musk posted to his twitter that he planned to go with open sourcing Tesla's software. Open Source or Free Software (as in freedom not as in price) is gaining a lot of popularity within the modernized giants of Silicon Valley. Microsoft also caught the open source bug and bought out Github for a cool 7.5 Billion US dollars. Github repository service that includes social aspects for programmers to collaborate and communicative without ever even meeting in person. Github is a gem for tinkerers as it already includes a large code base, and a massive community of active programmers.

teslaopensource.jpg Source: Tesla

Open source gives Tesla many advantages over its competitors. Chevy and Toyota still use clunky and hard to update proprietary software. Imagine you built something everyone had to use but no one could look at the gears inside to make sure everything is being well maintained. This example serves to explain open source as bugs and security problems have caused massive losses to businesses and consumers. With proprietary software no one can look inside to make sure the software is really secure other than a small amount of core developers and pen testers working for the organization.


Free software allows anyone to view the code and then report security flaws/fixes to those who are looking after the code. Putting artificial Intelligence inside an automobile is not an easy feat to solve and doing so safely is even more difficult. Tesla aims to hit level 5 autonomy some time in the future by investing large amounts of money into software and hardware already.

By going open source Tesla opens the door for people outside of the company to develop code and improvements to their technology. Tesla made attempts to have Nvidia and Parrot, both upstream providers to join in on the open source software revolution. Envisioning a future with autonomous electric vehicles is a bit difficult for some. Harvesting the power of the internet, with a shift to community contributions could open the flood gates for those enthusiastic programmers who would like to solve this problem. Similar to how GNU/Linux software dominates the Internet the Tesla open source autonomous vehicle software could do the same for the cars in the future .

Sometimes I ponder about the potential advancements if open source gained adoption more than two decades ago when Linux Torvalds released his kernel using GPL 2.0. Say you have two different companies building the same tool. The waste of human energy to compete with duplicate each others code contributes to a higher amount of world suck for proprietary software programmers. Every day more vulnerabilities in software are found massive amounts of losses are had from this problem.

As both Steem and Steemit are both fully open source and the code is view able by anyone. It gives me peace of mind knowing that the most talented programmers can already view the code and point out any flaws. Even though Tesla a bit late to the game, I'm still a huge fan of the contributions to the free software community. By doing so they make us all a lot safer especially if thousands of autonomous "killing machines" are driving next you in the coming years.

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I agree. Open source is the way to go. I frequently use many open source softwares such as blender, makehuman, gimp and more.


I love gimp. It's improved a lot over the years. I can only thing other things , hopefully even video games follow the same path.

Lets hope Elon is still the CEO of Tesla in a couple of years. Looks like there is a possibility of a mental breakdown on the horizon.


It's possible. I'm sure his brother Kimbal Musk would do as a fine replacement CEO, though .

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