Last month, George ‘geohot’ Hotz announced that he canceled the first product made by his new startup, comma.ai, an aftermarket device capable of advanced driver assist features comparable to Tesla’s Autopilot, after receiving an inquiry from NHTSA just a few weeks after unveiling it.
Hotz is now teasing the product again just a month later and he is scheduled to release more details later today.
Hotz’s project caught the industry’s attention after he released an email conversation he had with Elon Musk in which Tesla’s CEO offered him a contract with a “multimillion-dollar bonus” for him to build a new Autopilot system for Tesla and discontinue Mobileye’s part of the program.
He didn’t take the job and decided instead to launch his own company to develop driver assists and semi-autonomous products. In the meantime, Tesla still managed to discontinue Mobileye’s chip in the Autopilot hardware when it introduced the second generation hardware last month.
Hotz’s Comma One was (or is?) a small device with a camera that would replace your rearview mirror and a radar that customers can install themselves. Before being “canceled”, it was going to cost $999, but users were going to have to pay a $24 monthly subscription for Comma.ai’s software.
Yesterday, he announced a press conference for today:
Then he released a teaser demonstration of what appears to be an updated version of the ‘comma one’:
Followed by a reaffirmation that the comma one is “cancelled” with a picture of a few prototypes:
If you are confused, I think that’s the point. Though it looks like the device is being revived with an updated version.
Considering the startup secured funding from high-profile VC firm Andreessen Horowitz with a $3 million investment — potentially bringing the startup’s valuation to $20 million, it wasn’t likely that Hotz’s announcement last month would be the end of the project.
Though if comma.ai wants to sell its products in the US, it still has to go through the information requested from NHTSA, which seemed to have prompted the “cancellation” of the product last month.
Hotz’s small team has seen some changes since his last announcement. Riccardo Biasini, a former Tesla Autopilot engineer who joined Hotz’s startup earlier this year, changed his LinkedIn status to announce the end of his job at comma.ai earlier this month.
But the team also gained a new engineer: software engineer Michael Graczyk joined from Google last month.
We should know more about Hotz’s plan later today. We will update with more information.