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A Student Spent $700 to Make His Car Drive Itself

Is DIY the way to go with self-driving tech?

Neil C. BhavsarMarch 1st 2017

The next generation of transportation is here: autonomous cars. And this innovation isn’t exclusively available within the ranks of Tesla — it can also be found in the humble guise of a Honda Civic parked on the campus of the University of Nebraska, Omaha.

A University of Nebraska senior, Brevan Jorgenson, shelled out a mere $700 for open source software that he used to turn his vehicle into a self-driving car. Jorgenson was an early beta-tester for the ucomma.ai, an ultimately unsuccessful company that had hoped to make autonomous driving affordable and easy to apply to any car. While fortune did not side with ucomma.ai, it seems to have smiled upon Jorgenson, who was able to utilize what he knew to let his car drive itself on the freeway.

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Credit: MIT

But is this up to code? Is Jorgenson required to adhere to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulations on self-driving cars? After all, it was because of all the NHTSA requirements that comma.ai decided to call it quits.

Well, luckily for Jorgenson, these regulations only apply to companies that distribute and sell self-driving cars. Consumers, on the other hand, have far more liberty for upgrading their vehicles to enter the new era of self-driving vehicles. The only stipulation is that insurance will not cover anything related to self-driving, thereby holding consumers culpable for any potential damage. Drive — or simply ride — safely!

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