After Tesla, Cruise to Open Source Patents

Cruise Automation Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Kyle Vogt, through one of his Twitter feeds, has just now announced that Cruise will be open sourcing some of its Visualization Tools.

Kyle Vogt on Open Sourcing Cruise Visualization Tools | Source – Twitter

This comes as great news to Self-Driving Technology Enthusiasts and other Smaller Startups in the Self-Driving Segment.

Per a Medium post from Cruise, their proprietary technology Worldview will be the first one to be open-sourced. People wishing to use the same can leverage the properties of this technology under the terms and conditions as specified under the Apache 2.0 License.

The primary use case of Worldview is in Rendering scenes in both 2-Dimensional and 3-Dimensional Space. Understanding and Analyzing the environment around the car is a crucial step in Autonomous Navigation. Hence, Worldview, if it turns out to deliver what it promises, is definitely going to be an asset for the companies/individuals working on Self-Driving Cars.

Almost all of the Self-Driving Car companies have a software stack that focuses on mapping the roads and the car surroundings in 3-D. Understanding the external environment is important for the car to smoothly maneuver among the obstacles (buildings, traffic, and people).

Oxbotica, a U.K based Self-Driving Technology Company, for example, has an engine named Selenium as the dedicated software stack for the mapping process.

Cruise is not the first company to open source its technology. Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, in an interview with Leslie Stahl in the 60 Minutes was seen as mentioning that Tesla’s patents are open sourced. Anyone wanting to use them can do so free of cost. Musk also added that this step from Tesla is taken by considering the need to have sustainable transportation in the future.

Cruise taking a similar approach by open sourcing its technology is indicative of the fact that  Cruise, like Tesla, has a broader vision that focuses on implementing the Self-Driving Technology for the betterment of the world, and that, for them, this not merely a business. This is even more evident from Kyle’s statement which states that Cruise plans to open source much more of their technologies in the future.

This move also showcases the fact that unlike some of the other corporate companies, Cruise indeed has a positive attitude towards welcoming competition.