George Hotz, perhaps better known as 'geohot', had been working on autonomous vehicles for a good little while now. Although he wasn't working on making an autonomous vehicle, but making software that can make the vehicle autonomous. Similar to what Alphabet is actually doing. Recently, Hotz changed how his company, comma.ai would release their product, originally named "Comma One". Naming it "Comma Neo". This was due to the NHTSA sending him a letter about the product. Hotz says that the letter from the NHTSA actually made them "pivot" into a new direction in creating Comma Neo – which also is open sourced – which will help other companies who are also developing autonomous tech.
Hotz recently spoke with Bloomberg TV about the whole thing. He stated that the issue he had with the NHTSA was the fact that he had only 10 days to provide the government with a user manual for Comma One while under oath. He took issue with that since the product was not being sold just yet. Hotz believes that open-sourcing Comma One into Comma Neo will free him from the regulators. What may be surprising to most is the fact that Hotz and comma.ai is already seeing interest from other car makers, like Tesla.
During the interview, Hotz was asked what he thought about Tesla's Autopilot, and said that it is "a bit better because one of the key things they are doing is fleet-learning. All of their Autopilot cars are helping to train all the other Autopilot cars." Hotz really likes Tesla's approach to autonomous driving and added that he believes they will succeed.
Another quote from Hotz though, that is pretty interesting is the fact that he said "Tesla is the iOS of self-driving" then referring that comma.ai wants to be Android. Which they are already slightly there. With them open sourcing their product, and Tesla still being closed sourced. Additionally, Comma Neo would be a great solution for a number of car makers that have not yet started working on an autonomous solution. Like Android, they would be able to just install it on their fleet and be good to go.