Comma AI’s George Hotz ‘Taking Time Away’ from the Self-Driving Company

Comma AI President George Hotz said he plans to take time away from the company, and seems to be stepping away to a different venture, as seen in a letter posted on Github over the weekend (via @Chuck Cook).

In the letter, Hotz said he hopes to move away from the open-source, automated driving project at Comma AI toward a new company, dubbed “The Tiny Corporation.”

Notably, Hotz describes that the Tiny Corporation “will still not change the course of history,” adding that “It’s a hobby.”

Conceptually, Hotz is planning for the Tiny Corporation to include under 1,000 lines of code with less than three people, and he expects it to have performance benefits and be a good fit for smaller models.

Some users in the thread speculated that Hotz’s move to step away could mean an OEM is buying Comma, though others simply echoed his own words in the letter, saying that he just didn’t want to be in the CEO’s chair for a product like this needing to be built at scale.

“I hope that there’s people in the world who get joy from actually doing the thing and not just solving the problem. And I hope they are at comma. At some point a company becomes able to self sustain, but it certainly wasn’t there the last two times I tried, the first time a laughable attempt during a manic episode and the second time perhaps a misalignment of goals,” said Hotz.

“It’s well within comma’s reach to become a 100M+ revenue consumer electronics company (without raising again!), but I don’t think I’m capable of running a company like that. I’ve always heard it takes different people at different company sizes,” he added.

Comma AI was founded by Hotz in the fall of 2015. It offers small units that can be attached to the interior of any car and control systems to offer “Tesla Autopilot like functionality,” according to its website, starting at $1,999 USD.

Hotz is well-known as being the first person to hack (“jailbreak”) the original iPhone and subsequent models, known at the time as ‘geohot’. He also reverse-engineered Sony’s PlayStation 3, resulting in the Japanese console maker to sue him.

Last January, Hotz attempted to wager $10,000 with Tesla’s Elon Musk as to who would reach Level 5 autonomy more quickly.