George Hotz, at 27 a past master of hacking, has outdone himself by giving away software that he says turns a modestly smart car into one that can more or less drive itself. He contends that it outperforms any production car except a Tesla—at a cost, in parts, of just US $700.
Hotz originally planned to sell an aftermarket system for a bit more than that and make a profit. However, that strategy foundered when the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency started breathing down his neck. So he went open source, reasoning that NHTSA can recall only a product that’s sold, not one that’s given away. Anyone can download the code from his startup, comma.ai.