In the tech world, open-source software is an increasingly popular model for developers to share and learn through collaboration, and thus drive innovation. Not so much in the auto world. But a Portland, Ore.-based software startup is set to change that.
PolySync, which develops next generation software for autonomous cars, announced the launch of Open Source Car Control (OSCC) project – an open-source kit for autonomous vehicle development, containing all the necessary software tools for developing a self-driving car. The company is open-sourcing the system in order to encourage other startups to modify and develop OSCC project. The project’s mission: lower the barrier of entry for startups that focus on self-driving cars, Josh Hartung, chief executive of PolySync said.
“In the web world, for example, companies recognize that the value is not in owning stock, but bringing that value to end users, and make experiences happen,” Hartung said. “The automotive world is very different, it’s very proprietary and very closed, where companies tend to try and innovate quickly, deploy the tech to customers, and gain temporary competitive advantage.”
As a result, innovation moves slower, he explained. Currently, startups working in the field find it hard to get on the road and test their models, since the existing technology is either patented or is extremely expensive. With OSCC’s kit, Hartung said, engineers will be able to build their own self-driving development vehicles for a fraction of the time and cost. “We hope the OSCC project will help democratize the development of self-driving cars,” he said.
For starters, PolySync will make a limited number of OSCC hardware kits available on GitHub. The startup plans to wrap up the release of necessary documentation and complete the work on its repository. “Open source is one of the things that the web and mobile were built on, and it’s is exciting to see that in self-driving, with other startups also taking the initiative,” Hartung added.