The self-driving tech startup, Comma.ai, plans to sell a $999 peripheral device for cars to grant them with nearly driverless capabilities. The Comma One add-on will also require a $24 monthly subscription for its software and could be ready before 2017 according to the company’s CEO, George Hotz.
Hotz made the announcement on behalf of his startup at the San Francisco conference ,TechCrunch Disrupt, on Tuesday. The event has been the stage for several rising companies and newcomers to showcase their products to major players in the tech industry.
During this week of presentations at Pier 48 in San Francisco, attendees have also seen companies like Udacity take steps towards the future of transportation. The online education startup claimed it would offer a course on driverless tech development and that, eventually, it would develop its own open-source self-driving vehicle.
How does the Comma One?
The Comma One looks like a GPS navigation device, but bigger, with a larger screen and a green plastic case.
The self-driving piece of tech also has cameras on the back that will record and log the video to the Comma.ai systems for data gathering and experience improvement. It is designed primarily for highway driving, although it can perform fine in city settings as well.
George Hotz is championing “shippability” as the product’s main feature. The Comma One is as good as ready. It will roll out to select customers with specific vehicles as soon as December.
That, Hotz says, stands in stark contrast to companies like Mobileye and others, who have promised to develop the future of self-driving tech but have yet to show a tangible result of their efforts.
Who is the man behind Comma.ai?
George Hotz is perhaps better known for his hacker moniker ‘Geohot’. The Comma.ai CEO first rose to prominence in the tech industry as a teen when he became the first person to hack an original iPhone.
While he is also known for hacking the PlayStation 3, ‘Geohot’ as leader of a self-driving company is focused on getting to be known for delivering tangible results.
When he first introduced the technology behind the Comma One back in late 2015, Hotz said the system he had developed was nearly as capable as the Autopilot on Tesla vehicles. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk quickly answered it was unlikely.
Hotz has nothing but praise for Tesla and allegedly even holds a bet with Elon Musk over if he can “destroy” his competition or not. Musk has reportedly invited Hotz to join Tesla in the past, but the young hacker claims he values his lifestyle over anything else.
The Comma One will be available for people who own Honda and Acura cars in the Bay Area of San Francisco by the end of 2016.