iPhone jailbreaking pioneer George Hotz is building a self-driving car of his own

George Hots Bloomberg Businessweek image 001

George Hotz aka ”Geohot”, one of the pioneers of the early jailbreak scene, is building a self-driving car of its own, according to a lengthy profile published today by Bloomberg Businessweek.

If you frequent this website, you’re probably aware that Hotz is credited with becoming the first person to carrier-unlock an iPhone, which allowed users to use their handset with other carriers.

Much like he’d hacked the original iPhone, he’s now done the same with his ordinary 2016 Acura ILX sedan. Working in his garage, he’s managed to turn the Acura into a self-driving vehicle in about a month, by putting a laser-based radar on the roof, mounting a camera near the rearview mirror and attaching a 21.5-inch screen and a joystick to the dashboard.

Hacking the car

“We’re on the brink of another industrial revolution now,” he said. “The entire Internet at the moment has about 10 brains’ worth of computing power, but that won’t always be the case.”

In outfitting the Acura with cameras and sensors, he’s written his own software that runs on a Linux-based machine. The software is trained for the cameras using so-called neural net, a self-teaching artificial intelligence that uses data from the vehicle and driver to learn from their choices.

The self-learning system that doesn’t rely on preprogrammed rules about driving, like pretty much all commercially available self-driving systems on the market do. In order to rack up a lot of training miles for the car, Hotz intends to start driving for Uber soon.

George Hots Bloomberg Businessweek image 002

Intriguingly enough, his feat is said to have impressed Tesla Motors founder and co-owner Elon Musk so much that he offered Hotz a job working on homegrown Autopilot software along with a multimillion-dollar bonus.

“I’m happy to work out a multimillion-dollar bonus with a longer time horizon that pays out as soon as we discontinue Mobileye,” Musk is said to have emailed.

Hotz declined.

“I’m a big Elon fan, but I wish he didn’t jerk me around for three months,” he says. “He can buy the technology for double.”

In a few months time, Hotz claims he will have a video of his Acura outperforming a Tesla across the Golden Gate Bridge (“he’s heard that Teslas struggle when going across the bridge because of the poor lane markings”) before passing the final test on I-405 in Los Angeles, where Musk lives.

So, what does the future hold for Hotz?

With comma.ai, his own company, Hotz has Mobileye in its sights, a supplier of driving assistance systems that helps power Tesla’s Autopilot system. Using off-the-shelf parts, he’s basically building a $1,000 kit consisting of six cameras and smart control software that automakers would hopefully sell directly to consumers who would buy customized vehicles at a showroom run by Hotz.

Speaking of future, here’s a passage that I’ve found worthy of sharing:

The truth is that work as we know it in its modern form has not been around that long, and I kind of want to use AI to abolish it. I want to take everyone’s jobs. Most people would be happy with that, especially the ones who don’t like their jobs.

Let’s free them of mental tedium and push that to machines. In the next 10 years, you’ll see a big segment of the human labor force fall away. In 25 years, AI will be able to do almost everything a human can do. The last people with jobs will be AI programmers.

The full profile is a tremendously fascinating read so check it out right now by clicking the source link below or save the article for later.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek