For car enthusiasts who have been eyeing the Tesla Autopilot method from afar but can’t do anything financially to get the mode, worry not a solution is here. 26 year old George Hotz, famously known for unlocking the first iPhone has, through his startup company Comma.ai, created a new $999 add-on that enables some limited self driving features on various existing cars. The best thing about the news is that, the Comma One will start shipping this year.
Speaking to an audience at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, Hotz said that the feature was moving from Mountain View to San Francisco without touching the steering wheel. The news should not mean users who have preordered self driving cars in the neighborhoods because, as most car enthusiasts know, the Tesla Autopilot mode is better equipped to work on the highways. Door to door self driving car mode for Tesla is still a long way.
The Comma One technology that will be put on the rear view mirror. The tech makes use of a camera to figure out the true location of the car. However, the Comma One box will make use of the front radars of the vehicle, but unfortunately the vehicle is only available for some selected cars at the moment. Comma.ai however plans to expand the service to other car manufacturers as time goes by.
Hotz said that the new feature he created are fully functional, and if put on a test, users could see that it’s on the same level with that of the Tesla Autopilot system itself. He said that if Tesla was going to make itself the iOS version of cars, then his company was aiming at making an Android sort of software. A one size fit all analogy as he compared mobile phone operating systems.
Hotz is known to have uttered his desire to get a self driving car on the market, and back in April, he is said to have described a car that was just similar to the Comma One. The new technology was aimed at a price point of below $1,000, and strangely he managed to achieve it. The startup then managed to get seed funding of up to $3.1 million after which they started by launching an app that helps in collecting driving data, as they looked to improve the company’s self driving abilities and resources.
Comma.ai is aiming for a 2016 launch, but those waiting for the device might have to wait a whole before they can get their hands on it. The tech is likely to come soon, but many believe it will come in small quantities as they gauge and wait to see the initial reaction of the public to the technology. Speaking to the audience, Hotz said that the devices would probably be harder to come by than the famed rapper, Kanye West’s sneakers.