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Why a hacker is giving away a special code that turns cars into self-driving machines


Hope this stays in California. 

short summary:

Here is a strategy for start-ups dealing with regulators who might shut down your product: Make it free.

Scrappy self-driving car start-up Comma.ai released a free software kit on Wednesday to help developers learn to build a device that can turn any car into an autonomous vehicle. The year-old company, which is founded by a well-known hacker and backed by prominent Silicon Valley investors, hopes to accelerate the development of self-driving cars while skirting the ire of Washington.

The code, which is available on the open-source collaboration platform GitHub, allows anyone (but really, hardcore hackers) to build a dashcam-like device that they can set up in their car. 

Because NHTSA regulates commercial vehicles, Hotz said he is exempt from regulatory scrutiny because he is not selling anything.

“Comma is a clear threat to highway safety, and attempting to release it like this is absolutely outrageous,” he said. “NHTSA and the California DMV should act now to keep vehicles equipped with Holtz’s device off the highway.”

some comments from readers:

Doing this with a product that can kill people is insane.
As a retired career prosecutor all I can say is....wow. If there is a better definition of criminal recklessness, I can't imagine it.
This guy belongs in jail and there will be a special place in hell reserved for him because a lot of people are going to die or be seriously injured by this untested product...
But, some people think it is a great idea !!! 

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This would go great with my Crown Vic!

george2001 said:   This would go great with my Crown Vic!
They are working on that one next.

For now, it works only "with some Hondas and Acuras"

Awesome! Free the blind people from all that pedestrian/passenger bondage!
Did I mention I was horrible at bumper cars when I could see?

sublimosa said:   Did I mention I was horrible at bumper cars when I could see?

  Does that mean you DID hit things when you weren't trying to, or you DIDN'T hit things despite trying?

Hmmm, the world might be safe after all-I didn't hit things when I was trying!

If the system is in place in a car, wouldn't the owner of that car be prosecuted for the resulting deaths?

dead is dead even if the court case is won

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