In Brief
Comma.ai, an automotive AI startup, unveiled it's first official product, a $999 autonomous driving add-on that can be installed to a small range of selected car models. The product will work with a small selection of vehicles, with hopes to expand to more models in the future.

Editor’s Note: This project has been canceled and reclassified due to federal regulations. 

Similar to Tesla’s Autopilot, Comma One claims to be able to safely drive you from Mountain View to San Francisco without having to steer the wheel or step on the gas and brake. It can be installed on a small range of selected vehicles, but the creating startup, Comma.ai aims to make it compatible with more models in the future.

Image source: TechCrunch
Image source: TechCrunch

George Hotz, Comma.ai founder, stresses that this kit will not make a car fully autonomous, “it’s about on par with Tesla Autopilot.” Comma one takes advantage of a car’s built-on front radars and is equipped with a camera. “The key sensors that we’re getting back is the cam. We’re actually getting back the video, even Tesla isn’t doing that. We have all the video data.”

The affordable price at $999 was possible because the add-on is made of inexpensive materials. The company plans to have the product available for shipping before the end of the year in “very limited” quantities.

In the end, this could fuel some healthy competition for autonomous driving. If this tech turns out to be as effective as any car manufacturer’s offerings, it could open up the possibilities for greater benefits and innovation in the field. If customers can buy affordable kits to give their current vehicles autopilot, car manufacturers are going to have to give greater incentives to get customers to buy into their offerings.