Super hacker George Hotz told the audience at the TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco conference last week that his company, Comma.ai, will begin shipping a self-contained self driving system before the end of the year. The system will cost $999 and come with a monthly software fee of $24.
Hotz says the self driving kit will give any car it is fitted to the ability to drive from Mountain View to San Francisco without needing a hand on the steering wheel or a foot on the accelerator or brake. The number of cars the system can be installed in is limited at the present time, but the company intends to expand the list of compatible models in the near future.
He is quick to point out that the system does not make a car fully autonomous. Instead, it is a system that offers similar capabilities to those of the Tesla’s Autopilot without the need to buy an entire new car. Hotz says the best thing about the Comma One system is its “shippability,” meaning that a customer can actually buy one and install it without waiting years for Ford, GM, Mercedes, BMW, Nissan, or some other start-up company to finish designing, testing, and building an autonomous driving system of its own sometime in the future.
“It is fully functional. It’s about on par with Tesla Autopilot,” Hotz saya. The Comma One relies on built-in forward radars and comes with a camera. Hotz says if Tesla is the iOS of autonomous driving systems, his company wants to be the Android equivalent. The Comma One is meant to outperform systems provided by other companies, particularly those from MobilEye.
“If you’re looking to Mobileye to build the software of the future — don’t,” he said during an interview. Tesla and MobilEye have recently agreed to disagree about the the future of self driving systems and have severed their business relationship with each other.
The retail price of the Comma One is made possible by using generic, off the shelf components. “We’re going to try our best to ship it before the end of the year. Again, in very limited quantity,” Hotz said. More info about its release and availability will be provided soon.
Source: Tech Crunch Photo credit: Comma.ai