What OS Does Tesla Use?

When you think of electric cars like Tesla you probably associate them with technology and computers.

And one of the things we all know about computers is they use different operating systems.

From Windows, macOS and Linux to phone operating systems like iOS and Android.

Tesla also uses different operating systems in their products.

What OS Does Tesla Use In Their Cars?

First, you need to understand that Tesla vehicles are made up of a variety of computers.

  • The main screen computer
  • The Autopilot / FSD computer
  • The dash display computer (in the Model S for example)
  • The various controllers throughout the car

Main Screen

Tesla MCU upgrade and retrofit
Tesla Main Screen with customized Linux

The only computer we can really talk about in terms of operating systems is the main screen.

The main screen in the front of all Teslas uses a custom version of the Linux operating system. Various members of the Tesla team have stated different things, so it could be based on either Debian or Ubuntu Linus. However, it is heavily customized and far more lean than the standard version.

The smaller screens probably have a similar operating system based on Linux. Perhaps even more slimmed down.


The chips throughout the car don’t use operating systems per se, but instead have software installed on them directly called firmware. Tesla is renowned for having the capability to program such chips, so it is likely they do their own chip coding in all cases.

Autopilot / FSD

Tesla Hardware 3 FSD computer
FSD Hardware 3.0

The software running on the Hardware 3.0 computers in each Tesla are specifically written by the Tesla team and comprise of a lot of handwritten code in C as well as Neural Networks that are developed in-house. This likely runs off an internally written operating system.

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