Comma.ai founder George Hotz pulls the plug following a request for details about the system's operation and testing.

Comma.ai is abandoning its plans to launch an add-on semi-autonomous driving system after being contacted by the National Highway Transport Safety Administration about the system.

Announced at TechCrunch Disrupt SF in September, the Comma One was described as “an advanced driver assistance system” in a blog written by company founder George Hotz on October 20.

Hotz claimed that the system added lane keeping and adaptive cruise control functions to certain Honda models. Sales were slated to start by the end of this year, at a retail price of $999.

In response to Hotz’s blog, the NHTSA sent a letter to Comma.ai on October 27, informing the company that, since it is producing motor vehicle equipment, it falls under the body’s purview.  

“We are concerned that your product would put the safety of your customers and other road users at risk,” the letter said.

The letter goes on to list 15 requests for information regarding the installation and operation of the Comma One, its safety measures, and the analysis and testing that had been carried out on it.

“We strongly encourage you to delay selling or deploying your product on the public roadways unless and until you can ensure it is safe,” the NHTSA advised.

You can read the full text of the letter below.

 

Via the official Comma.ai Twitter account, iPhone hacker Hotz wrote: “First time I hear from them and they open with threats. No attempt at dialogue.

“Would much rather spend my life building amazing tech than dealing with regulators and lawyers. It isn’t worth it.

“The Comma One is cancelled. Comma.ai will be exploring other products and markets.”

Though a few followers voiced their support, there was little sympathy for Hotz’s position.

What Hotz was trying to achieve with Comma One is admirable. But how he thought he could escape regulation when he would be asking drivers to entrust their lives to his product is anyone’s guess.

Source: Automotive News

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