George Hotz and the democratization of Autonomous Cars

Great piece at Bloomberg. Promising, exciting. Even surprising. George Hotz -a.k.a. ‘geohot’- showed his genius when he was only 17 years old and he hacked the iPhone. The gave another testament of his technical prowess three years later, when he hacked the PS3 and put Sony in big problems.

And know, at 26, he’s making an even bigger bet: develop an autonomous car by himself. He thinks he can beat Tesla autopilot -the video shows that the system is pretty promising (still a “Level 3” autonomy out of four levels)- by himself, and that could lead to a development that could even rival the one by Google, which is a full autonomous car.

His new startup, comma.ai is clear in his simple, unique message: “ghostriding for the masses“. There’s still no signs on how the software will be published, but Hotz has always shared his work with everyone for free, so excluding hardware costs for the system -around $1000 according to the Bloomberg article-, this could change this segment forever.

An Open Source autonomous car is possible, and there’s something revealing here. Elon Musk, whom big businesses are usually afraid of, is afraid himself. Or at least, it seems so in his defensive message. Interesting.

Source: George Hotz Is Taking on Tesla by Himself

The Apple Car is real: WSJ

Apple is accelerating efforts to build its first electric car, designating it internally as a “committed project” and setting a target date for 2019 to finalize the product, people familiar with the matter said.

It has happened with other markets before, and it will keep happening. ‘What if Apple entered the X business?‘ That question usually sparks excitement among users, and fear among industry incumbents.

The Apple Car is one of these projects that seemed inevitable for the Cupertino-based company, and after several rumors the latest information published on The Wall Street Journal makes that project even more real.

Apple usually arrives to markets with solutions that are better in design and execution than the traditional leaders. The car industry is far more advanced and mature than any other of the markets Apple has ever entered, and we’ve got Tesla as the clear innovator on that front. We’ll see if Apple can improve what Tesla has accomplished.

Frankly, after seeing their latest products, I’m not that excited.

I wonder what Musk will think after reading the news. He will probably smile after discovering that Tesla will at last have a promising rival. Let’s see what the auto industry thinks too. They have room to prepare themselves.

Source: Apple Speeds Up Electric-Car Work