Comma.ai originally planned a $1,000 kit to allow people to retrofit their cars to be self-driving. But it backed away in October after stern warnings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which questioned its safety. Hotz said he’s happy to avoid regulatory battles and direct dealings with consumers. Instead, Comma.ai is releasing various components that developers and tinkerers can use to create their own kits to add features like lane-keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control to existing cars.
“There’s a whole world of people who used to mess with their cars,” Hotz said. “But that’s gone because you can’t modify cars with torque wrenches; they are computers now. We want to provide that same level of access to people interested in modifying their cars.”