Tesla CTO talks Model S, batteries and in-car Linux

The all-electric car maker's technology chief sees longer driving range and less expensive models in the future

By , IDG News Service |  IT Management, electric cars, Linux

JBS: We wrote most of the software in the car ourselves. All of the screens you see were programmed here, designed here, and we have a whole team of software engineers upstairs implementing that and making it a reality. We are using an operating system that is a version of something called Linux. That is open source, very robust standard, for the display and entertainment. For the control and motor and things like that, we don't have operating systems. They run in a lower level and are actually running C code, so we have engineers upstairs writing in the C programming language, building the control loops from scratch. We write it, we model it, we test it here.

IDGNS: So if the Linux crashes, the car won't go off the road?

JBS: That's a key point. The whole entertainment system, those touchscreens, all of the applications you might load are totally separate from the propulsion of the car. In fact you could, if you had to, turn off the screens in the car while driving and the car still drives just fine. You couldn't see your Google Map, but you could still drive and stop and do everything else.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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