- Elon Musk said Tesla has held early talks to license its software with other car manufacturers.
- The CEO has said in the past he is not looking to edge out other competitors, but rather simply advance the technology.
- Musk said the “full self-driving” software may be functional without an operator within the year, reaching Level 5 autonomy.
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company has been in early talks to share its self-driving software with other manufacturers during an earnings call Wednesday.
“We’ve had some preliminary discussions about licensing Autopilot to other OEMs,” Musk said during the call.
Musk emphasized the company is not looking to keep the software to itself, but is waiting for the service to become more reliable before sharing it with outside companies.
“We need to probably do a little more work to prove that Autopilot is capable of full self driving,” Musk said. “Then we’re more than happy to license that to other car companies.”
The CEO has said in the past that he is not looking to edge out other competitors, but rather simply advance the technology.
The software was released as a public beta to a select group of consumers - Musk said it was around 1,000 - in October. The software still requires a licensed human operator, though Musk said he's hopeful it could be capable of Level 5 autonomy within the year.
"The software is improving dramatically," Musk said.
When the feature entered public beta, users quickly reported multiple errors, with YouTube videos showing the software missing intersections and boulevards.
Musk says Tesla is focusing on improving Tesla's neural network through 3-D labeling, gathering videos, and labeling elements so that the program can learn.
"We believe we have the best neural-net-training software in the world by an order of magnitude," Musk said.
Tesla's plan is to create a car that will drive better and be more reliable than the average human.
Tesla is not the only company pursuing full automation. In October, Waymo, a Google subsidiary, launched an entirely driverless ride service in Phoenix. General Motors, Volkswagen, and Ford have also been pushing for autonomous vehicles, with Volkswagen and Ford joining together to support Argo Ai, an autonomous driving technology company.
The company has gone head to head in the past with other automakers pursuing fully automated vehicles. Recently, Waymo CEO John Krafcik said Tesla was "no competition at all" when it came to making autonomous vehicles.
However, Musk said he believes the company could deliver on his promise of a fully-automated system sooner rather than later.
"From my standpoint, it looks like a very clear and obvious path towards a vehicle that will drive safer than a person," Musk said. "I don't really see any obstacles here."