Quoted: Guess who else is working on a self-driving car?

“I’m a big Elon fan, but I wish he didn’t jerk me around for three months. He can buy the technology for double.”

George Hotz, a.k.a. GeoHot, on working on a self-driving car all by himself. In an interview with Bloomberg News, the well-known hacker said he and Tesla CEO Elon Musk discussed a deal in which Hotz would work on Tesla’s self-driving technology, but that the talks ended because Musk “kept changing the terms.”

Hotz is the guy who became known as the first to hack into Apple’s iPhone when he was a teenager. Later, Sony sued him for jailbreaking the PlayStation 3 — which led to him becoming a cause celebre for hackers who then went after Sony in the famous massive hack in 2011.

Now 26 years old and after stints at Google, Facebook, SpaceX — and attending Carnegie Mellon — Hotz tells Bloomberg he plans to come out with better self-driving car technology than Mobileye, whose partners include Tesla, BMW and others.

Hotz’s car of choice: a white 2016 Acura ILX, which he’s souping up in his San Francisco garage with a Linux-based computer, off-the-shelf electronics and a (Dell) screen that he’ll have you know is bigger than the screens you see in Teslas.

So experts might want to put his name on the list of players in the growing world of autonomous vehicles, alongside names such as Google and BMW and Honda. As Troy Wolverton wrote yesterday, Ford is now testing its self-driving cars in California, too. The roads are filling up.


Photo: A Google driverless car in Mountain View in 2014. Many others are competing with Google’s autonomous-vehicle efforts, including George Hotz, who’s best known for being the first person to hack the iPhone. (Google via Associated Press)


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