DIY self driving car; what could possibly go wrong!

Subject: General Tech | December 2, 2016 - 02:59 PM |
Tagged: DIY, self driving car,, geohot

George Hotz, aka [Geohot], created the program in an effort to create and sell a program to control self driving cars.  The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took offence to this, citing the possibility of this endangering humans in a letter sent to his company Comma.Ai.  He shut down the project rather than having to deal with lawyers, red tape and regulations.  The code survived however and is now available on GitHub.  Hack a Day took a look and discovered it is written in Python with some C included and is rather easy to interpret if you are familiar with the language.  It is compatible with Acura ILXs or Honda Civic 2016 Touring models, if you are so inclined.

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"First there was [Geohot]’s lofty goal to build a hacker’s version of the self-driving car. Then came and a whole bunch of venture capital. After that, a letter from the Feds and a hasty retreat from the business end of things. The latest development?’s openpilot project shows up on GitHub!"

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December 3, 2016 | 05:59 AM - Posted by AutonomousCar (not verified)

Autonomous Car: "Life is just video game to me".

December 3, 2016 | 11:07 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Even companies like Tesla and Google have to jump through the regulatory hoops. Car auto navigation computers have to be better than even the computers that are used to control rockets. Rockets use systems that are mostly designed for short periods of use to just get the payload to orbit so the bugs if there are any in the navigation multi-computers’ software/hardware have less of a chance of showing up due to rockets non continuous/not as regular nature of use. Now for satellites and space probes that software/computer hardware is in use for longer periods and is usually designed to be updated on the go.

Cars unlike rockets are made in the hundreds of thousands to the millions so the raw numerical amount of cars that may be using any auto navigation computers increases the chances of any software/hardware bugs showing up simply because of the total cumulative usage hours these systems will be operating as a whole in the fleets of cars that may use any auto navigation systems. And satellites and space probes that mostly do not remain on the earth are not very likely to hit anyone while cars are everywhere on the roads and can also hit you even if you are on the sidewalks or in rare cases hit you by crashing through the walls of a business or even your house. Cars very often hit other cars and even the occasional fully loaded fuel truck and that adds up to plenty of lawyers and money even without any software/hardware to blame.

So anyone designing software for car auto navigation systems better have deep pockets because the liability considerations for cars are in the billions without even considering auto navigation hardware/software systems. It would be better if that project was designing software for maybe small robotic vehicles of 50-100 pounds that could not go faster than 15 MPH. There are some companies working on autonomous robot delivery vehicle that operate mostly on sidewalks but those units are also monitored by humans while they are in the development phase.

There are probably going to be some regulations added that will limit car owners from modding any car's navigation systems just like there where for Router Radio software. Except with some very hefty fines or even jail time. A lot of the government agencies have regulatory authority to promulgate regulations in their areas of coverage under the law even without congress passing new laws if there is any public safety concerns. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has the regulatory authority to promulgate new regulations under its charter with congress reviewing any new regulations at a later time! So those legal letters have the force of law when a federal agency is behind them.

December 4, 2016 | 04:41 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

People can be governed by rules. Machines not so much. What if machine kills while it adheres to the letter but not the spirit?

December 4, 2016 | 12:14 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Then it must be be brought before the Crushinator for final judgment! And if found guilty summarily crushed into a compact cube and cast down into the furnace of eternal fire and damnation!

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