During the latest Tesla earnings call, Elon Musk hinted that the company had some preliminary discussions about providing Autopilot to other OEMs. Opening Autopilot to other automakers would provide Tesla with more data to develop its autonomous software, while also developing another source of revenue for the company.
“Does Tesla plan or expect to licence any of its software applications, FSD and Autobidder in particular, to [third] party OEMs?” asked an institutional investor during Tesla’s Q4 FY 2020 earnings call.
Musk reiterated that Tesla is open to licensing its software to third parties. “We’ve had some preliminary discussions about licensing Autopilot to other OEMs. This is something we’re more than happy to do,” he said.
Musk’s statement suggests that there might be OEMs interested in integrating Autopilot into their vehicles. The CEO did note that Tesla still has to prove that Autopilot is capable of full self-driving, which Musk was hopeful would be the case by the end of the year.
“And then, we’re more than happy to license that to other car companies. We’re definitely trying not to keep it to be a Tesla exclusive…”
Basic Autopilot, which includes features like Autosteer, comes standard with every Tesla offered today, and it has helped the EV maker develop its self-driving software. If other automakers were to integrate Autopilot into more vehicles, Tesla would have access to a plethora of real-world data.
According to ARK Invest, Tesla has gathered billions of real-world data thanks to its fleet, much more than its competitor Waymo. This allows the electric car maker to come closer to full self-driving than rival companies. Data matters when developing autonomous software for vehicles, so opening Autopilot to third-party OEMs could be a very beneficial, if not lucrative, venture for Tesla.