Elon Musk: Tesla open to license Autopilot and more to automakers following Ford deal

Following the deal to work with Ford on access to the Supercharger network, CEO Elon Musk says that Tesla is open to licensing Autopilot, Full Self-Driving, and EV technology to other automakers.

Are there going to be any takers?

Back in 2014, Tesla announced that it made all its patents “open source.”

Almost a decade later, it’s unclear whether companies are actively using some of Tesla’s technology based on the open-sourced patents and, if so, with what technology.

But having access to patents and not being sued for using the technology is one thing – implementing the technology is another.

Directly licensing a technology and working with the company that designed it is generally a better way to adopt a technology. For example, Ford is working with Tesla on implementing its NACS charging standards, which were designed by Tesla.

The recent development opens up the possibility of Tesla directly working with other automakers in ways it hasn’t since its early partnership with Daimler and Toyota.

In a comment on Electrek’s article about GM CEO Mary Barra admitting that Tesla is in the lead with electric vehicles, Musk said that he is “happy to license Autopilot/FSD or other Tesla technology”:

Back in 2021, Musk did say that he had early discussions with other automakers about licensing self-driving technology, but that didn’t lead to anything.

Will it be different this time?

Electrek’s Take

I think Elon might be underestimating some other driver-assist systems. FSD? You can forget that. No other automaker is going to want to license that until Tesla can prove it works on its own cars.

I don’t see anyone being interested in the current FSD Beta version – if Telsa can solve it, sure, but not now.

As for Autopilot, it is really good, but GM’s Supercruise and Ford’s Blue Cruise are also very good.

I can see some smaller automakers who don’t have the bandwidth to be involved in driver-assist systems being interested, but not the bigger automakers.

As for Tesla’s EV technology, I think there could be some takers there. Tesla’s battery pack design, drivetrain, and power electronics are all industry-leading.

I’d like to see more automakers, especially those who are lagging behind in electric vehicles, adopt them.