back to article DIY self-driving cars are closer than they appear (and we're not talking about in the mirror)

Develop a self-driving car and regulatory trouble may follow, as Uber has discovered. Develop a self-driving car kit and the situation is the same. George Hotz's Comma.ai tried this with its $999 Comma One kit to give recent Honda Civics and some Acura models adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist capabilities. But …

  1. Oh Homer
    Joke

    "DIY self-driving cars are closer than they appear"

    Yes, about two feet away!

    [Boom, boom (crash)]

    1. Truckle The Uncivil

      Re: "DIY self-driving cars are closer than they appear"

      @OK Homer

      ...wallop, oh, what a picture?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I support open source

    But individuals should NOT have the right or ability to fuck with the software of an autonomous car!

    Not without posting at least a $10 million bond to cover their liability - since obviously no insurance company is going to cover a DIY self driving car.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I support open source

      There is a problem with "intent". We can own certain things, like knowledge and energy. But how we use them is the problem.

      Nothing wrong with a self driving car. Or even a broken one. It's the people putting them on the road, or selling them.

      And "open source" one is just knowledge, with some mechanical application too. But using it on the road without testing and confirmation it won't crash? That's the hard part.

      1. Oh Homer
        Childcatcher

        Criminalising the opportunity to make mistakes

        I believe that's called totalitarianism (or more euphemistically a Nanny State), and is equally applicable to the non-autonomous forms of vehicles.

        Sorry, but no, the majority should not be treated like idiots and/or criminals just because a handful of us are.

        1. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: Criminalising the opportunity to make mistakes

          Most people are idiots, and only a handful aren't.

          FTFY

    2. BillG
      Stop

      Re: I support open source

      since obviously no insurance company is going to cover a DIY self driving car.

      It's entirely possible that in the event of an accident the insurance company might call the policy null and void, leaving the driver/owner with 100% of the liability.

      Open-source self-driving HW and SW? Nothing good can come of that.

  3. Nolveys
    Headmaster

    New Zealand has a much better solution

    I don't know why this hasn't caught on yet (dailymail.co.uk) It's clearly a more rational and cost-effective solution to the self-driving car problem.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Terminator

      Re: New Zealand has a much better solution

      It's all a con really. Time/energy/effort etc. We are swapping people for automation. While it's a luxury, it's not a necessity.

      Automated dishwasher/washing machine is a nice luxury. It's not a disaster should they fail. It's replacing human work.

      Self driving cars, are either a luxury, or a disaster. Thing is, they are just trying to move the work from one place to another. Sometimes the user still has to work the same hours, but in the office, to pay the cost of the "time saving device", depending on costs/contract/servicing.

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: New Zealand has a much better solution

      "I don't know why this hasn't caught on yet (dailymail.co.uk)"

      Probably because of what happens when a squirrel crosses the road. ☺

      1. Eddy Ito

        Re: New Zealand has a much better solution

        So it's back to horses. Except in the U.S. SW where rattlers are fairly common on the side of the road.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: New Zealand has a much better solution

      That's... impressive!

    4. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: New Zealand has a much better solution

      I do like the way that story got put into the Mail's science and technology section. It confirms my prejudices (yet again).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't care if it's free, I'm not buying a new car.

    Let's keep in mind that this "DIY" kit only works with vehicles released in the last 2 years. All of the necessary sensors and cameras are already in the car, the only thing you "do" is plug in a magical box to control it.

    Call me when someone starts selling a DIY kit that includes the cameras and sensors that you can retrofit on a pre-2016 model year. Regulation is now a shit show thanks to Obama, and I wouldn't trust any vehicle made after 2007, especially if it contains Takata air bags. Did you idiots forget that the 2016 ILX is part of the air bag recall?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't care if it's free, I'm not buying a new car.

      RTFA. There are two components: software (openpilot) and hardware (NEO).

      The hardware uses a smartphone to provide the camera.

  5. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Edge Cases

    Right now I would be more concerned about thoses cases that have been properly handled such as icy roads, snow, etc. So far all the major testing has been done under about as an ideal situation as possible: California and Arizona. I would like them to try Buffalo during a lake-effect snow storm or Atlanta after a major ice storm for starters. Buffalo is prone to heavy snows before Lake Erie freezes over. Atlanta is a very hilly city. If the automation can handle those situations I will pay more attention. Until then we are years away from being autonomous cars no matter what the hype machine says.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Edge Cases

      Like all the teslas in Norway, it never snows there...

      Of course you test both where you are and where the challenge is least great initially...

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Edge Cases

        California also gets a bit of snow. Roads are often closed about Big Bear in winter.

  6. Eddy Ito

    "... to give recent Honda Civics and some Acura models adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist capabilities."

    So what this says to me is that all these cars already come with the needed equipment but it doesn't have the right software or computing power. It's like my cousin's base model '09 Fit, it didn't come with remote entry but it's just a matter of buying the $20 key blanks with the radio in the fob and programming the car or paying the dealer a few hundred bucks to "install" it.

  7. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Relying on "deep learning"

    Wonderful. Have these people never heard of GIGO?

    Send it enough 'fake data' and you will soon see the consequences and the insurance bills.

    All this stuff seems to rely on always being connected to some form of mothership which apart from the tracking issues, would be a fantastic target.

    Remember how (in)secure IOT stuff is...

    There is a really long way to go before I trust this stuff. People get wierd when the get behind the wheel of a tin box. Catering for variances in that wierdness in a data model is just not going to happen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Relying on "deep learning"

      Really, Uber are the Google of transport. Put the AI in the infrastructure, and the humans in the actual driving seat. (Googles search success is using user data and automating the collation of it, see as another example captcha with tasks for the user to complete that are small workloads).

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Relying on "deep learning"

      IoT on wheels.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bring it on!

    Having had to avoid a Range Rover yesterday driving on the wrong side of the road towards me on my bicycle whilst the lady driver was looking at her son's lap ... I say automate the humans out of the way asap.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Bring it on!

      Where I live has one of the highest auto insurance rates in the nation and contributes more than its share of auto deaths.

      Automation will not come soon enough for me.

    2. Oengus

      Re: Bring it on!

      http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/law-order/woman-70-drives-on-wrong-side-of-south-eastern-freeway-from-murray-bridge-to-mount-barker/news-story/f8aa33bdd03d04e13e8bfb36632cecf7?nk=a0786058216cadd022e3303ba7eb3e04-1497329937

      News story from South Australia just over the weekend.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the business model?

    "Eventually, this will allow Comma.ai to offer self-driving as a service. "As the system gets better, we'll charge a monthly fee," said Hotz."

    Guess I'll have to check the "Open Source" license, but considering the improvements are being made by via open source, how are they going to sell it? I assume it is one of those modern licenses that basically read "we'll get you to work for free, and profit" (i.e. any Google license). It's either one of those shady licenses or there shouldn't be anything from you or even I from selling the software ourselves... or selling it "as a service".

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: What's the business model?

      It must be "proper" open source. Otherwise it wouldn't have been enough to get around the regulator. Remember, these guys weren't allowed to sell the kit. No court or regulator is going to accept "OK that's illegal but you can give it away to get around the law whilst you finish R&D and then reclaim ownership of the IP once it is legal.".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's the business model?

      "Guess I'll have to check the "Open Source" license, but considering the improvements are being made by via open source, how are they going to sell it?"

      If you release your own software under an Open Source license, you are in no way precluded from also releasing it under a commercial license and for instance offer support contracts with the latter.

      Also you are under no obligation to release any or all future versions of that software as Open Source as well. For instance you are perfectly free to open source v1.0 but to release v2.0 as Closed Source only, as long as 2.0 includes only your own code (or code released under a "permissive" OS license such as BSD).

  10. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Coat

    ... closer than they appear ...

    About time they did something about rear-view mirrors making things look closer than they are.

    Oh, is it that time already ->

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Charge a fee"? Now, we know what the big push for "self driving cars" is really about. It's not "safer". It's not more reliable. It's not something that will allow punters to do "something else", while the car drives itself. It's something that will create more expensive cars, higher insurance fees/premiums, and allow these clowns to charge "monthly fees" for your car to drive itself. I'll pass on all of that, as well as any "connected tech", beyond terrestrial radio. You want a Self driving car? Buy one. Have fun with that...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Monthly payments - better protection against robber barons required

      "Charge a fee"? Now, we know what the big push for "self driving cars" is really about. It's not "safer"

      ...

      It's something that will create more expensive cars, higher insurance fees/premiums, and allow these clowns to charge "monthly fees" for your car to drive itself.

      We need some laws protecting us from the kind of behaviour exhibited by TalkTalk (not that they are alone here), where refusing to pay for a non-existant or crap service puts your credit status in danger.

  12. tmz
    Alien

    As usual SF has got there first.

    http://this.deakin.edu.au/culture/car-wars

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As usual SF has got there first.

      Yep and long before that reference, Isaac Asimov in 1953 wrote "Sally"

      1. James Cullingham

        Re: As usual SF has got there first.

        for which he ignored the three laws!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are countries where...

    even the least ready-for-market self-driving tech would reduce the traffic accident and death toll.

    Ethical?

  14. Neil 32

    "He expects the technology will first show up in the form of self-driving trucks on highways."

    Yet another thing that The Simpsons predicted first!?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me, I must re-read Stephen King's Christine.

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