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If Tesla Motors (TSLA) is the iOS Of Self-driving Cars, Comma.ai is Android

Tesla Inc (TSLA)

Tesla Motors Inc should look out for this Autopilot tech from a famed hacker. George Hotz – a PlayStation and iPhone hacker – revealed the first official product of his automotive AI startup, Comma.ai, at TechCrunch Disrupt SF this year. “It is fully functional. It’s about on par with Tesla Autopilot,” noted Hotz.

An affordable tech

Hotz’s automotive AI startup is coming up with the Comma One this year. Comma One is a $999 add-on, and will start shipping before the end of the year, costing $24 for a monthly subscription. As per Hotz, the software will be able to drive the car from Mountain View to San Francisco without requiring a driver to touch the brake, the gas or the wheel.

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Autopilot
Source: Tesla Motors Inc

The price of $999 is designed to be affordable and it was made possible by the components Comma uses in its product. These components tend to be less expensive off-the-shelf electronics. Hotz concluded saying that they are going to try their best to ship the product before the end of the year, in very limited quantity. Other information will be revealed soon, says TechCrunch.

Hotz noted that it is not a kit that will make someone’s car into a fully self-driving vehicle, but a system that can provide powers that are equivalent to Tesla Motors Inc ’s Autopilot system, without even requiring the person to buy a whole new car.

Better tech than Tesla Autopilot

Comma One will support some specific vehicles at the launch, but over time, the startup is hoping to add compatibility with more vehicles. Hotz says the key ingredient of Comma is “shippability,” something that other’s lack. Hotz said many carmakers and other startups, who are fond of announcing self-driving car projects, do not even have a hardware, forget about the products that they can sell to the customers.

Hotz claims that his system does not have too many sensors as it relies on built-in car front radars. “The key sensors that we’re getting back is the cam. We’re actually getting back the video, even Tesla isn’t doing that.” Hotz said. “We have all the video data.” Hotz said that if Tesla is the iOS of automated cars then they want to be the Android. Also, he said, “If you’re looking to Mobileye to build the software of the future — don’t”

Also, Hotz took some time to talk about the fatal crash involving the Tesla Motors Inc Model S sedan. He said that around 40,000 people die a year from not paying attention (while driving), and it (Tesla crash) is not like any special case ‘a self-driving car killed him.’ He said it was the case of a driver not paying attention. “It did unfortunately happen with Tesla. And I think Tesla’s response was very appropriate,” the hacker said.

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Aman is MBA (Finance) with an experience on both marketing and Finance side. He has work as a Risk Analyst for AIR Worldwide, and is currently leading VeRa FinServ, a Financial Research firm. Favorite pastimes include watching science fiction movies, playing PC games and cricket.