How much would you pay to to turn your current ride into an autonomous car? Cruise, a startup based in South California, is developing a kit it says can turn the 2012 and up Audi A4 into a semi-autonomous car for just $10,000.
Jalopnik reports that the autonomous car kit uses similar sensors and systems currently found in the Mercedes S-Class sedan, which allows the luxury sedan to sorta, kinda drive itself. There are a lot of limitations though, and even more questions.
Cruise can only sell this system in California and a few other states that have approved the use of autonomous cars. Also, the system can’t operate in the fog, the rain, or at night, seriously limiting its use. There are also litigation issues to take into consideration, as who will responsibility fall on should the system fail.
Also, can it really be done for just $10,000? The rooftop sensor suite on top of Google’s self-driving Prius cost in the area of $75,0000, and while this system is far from fully autonomous, the $10,000 price point sounds suspiciously low. Still, Cruise is aiming to begin an initial delivery allotment of 50 cars next year, after the current round of testing is completed.
One has to wonder if autonomous retrofit kits might one day even become mandatory?