You can build a self-driving car in your garage–if you are a computer genius. George Hotz, a 26-year-old computer whiz who was the first person to unlock the iPhone when he was just 17 and later reverse engineered a PlayStation, has built a self-driving car. Though it has cost him about $50,000, most of which went for the car itself, his real goal is to design a hardware/software system that will turn any recent car into a self-driving car for very little money.
As described in the video above, rather than write a computer program with a zillion rules for driving, his method has been to teach his car how to drive by using other drivers as examples. Most self-driving cars use millions of lines of code; his uses just 2,000.
Hotz’s immediate goal is a “level 3” car that can drive 99 percent of the time. Although his test car uses a Lidar sensor (probably his second-biggest expense) for training purposes, he hopes to eventually market self-driving cars that use just six optical cameras that currently cost $13 each. With processors and software, he estimates the total cost of converting a recent car with electronic steering and other electronic controls will be about $1,000. You can read more about tests of Hotz’s car at Bloomberg Business.