Your first self-driving car might already be parked in your driveway right now. At least, that’s the hope of automotive startup Comma.ai, which is developing an autonomous system that can be easily installed in several models of existing cars. Slated for launch at the end of the year, the company’s Comma One retrofit will cost $999, in addition to a monthly user subscription fee of $24.
Comma.ai’s founder, George Hotz, claims that the technology is "on par" with Tesla’s in-the-works Autopilot system, giving the car the automatic ability to accelerate, break, and change lanes.
But the Comma system has a twist: instead of following a rigid set of self-driving rules, the system learns how to emulate the aggregated habits of its human drivers. So every mile humans drive with the system creates data that makes the self-driving technology work better.
The bright-green device integrates new camera sensors with a car’s existing intelligent radar system, so it can only really work with newer, fancier cars that already have the radar technology. So no, the Comma One can’t work with your old beater.
Still, the fast rollout of the Comma One holds the promise for subsequent models to make self-driving capabilities more accessible than ever before.