Yesterday, Bloomberg Business published a story about a San Francisco hacker who claims to have built his own self-driving car in just a few months. George Hotz, who was the first person to hack the iPhone, has modified his Acura ILX and taught it to drive on freeways around the Bay Area. According to Bloomberg's article, Hotz had been in talks with Elon Musk about replacing that company's supplier of machine vision systems, Mobileye, until Musk offered Hotz a job, something the hacker did not appreciate.
Tesla, it turns out, did not like the way it and Mobileye were characterized in the article. In an online rebuttal, Tesla wrote "[w]e think it is extremely unlikely that a single person or even a small company that lacks extensive engineering validation capability will be able to produce an autonomous driving system that can be deployed to production vehicles." Mobileye's technology is now used by a host of OEMs and is one of the reasons Musk has said that optical sensors alone should be sufficient for autonomous vehicles.
Hotz's Acura ILX has been modified to contain a glovebox full of electronics, including a lidar puck on the roof and a forward-facing optical camera. Speaking to Bloomberg, Hotz said the secret to his car was the AI, which he has plans to refine while working as an Uber driver.