Tesla isn't impressed by your DIY self-driving car

Turns out, claiming that you can best Tesla's Autopilot with a DIY system you built in your garage isn't the best way to win praise from the Silicon Valley automaker. Notorious iPhone and PlayStation hacker George Hotz made headlines earlier this week when he revealed the self-driving Acura he created in a month, saying it was rising to the challenge set by Tesla's Elon Musk that motivated his efforts to build a low-cost homebrew alternative.

According to Hotz, the Tesla founder not only offered him a job but suggested that the goal was to eventually oust the automaker's current autonomous driving hardware partner, MobilEye, once the hacker's alternative was up to speed.

Now, though, Tesla has piped up in response, and it's not entirely convinced with how market-ready Hotz's camera-based system is.

"We 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," the company wrote today on its official blog, describing Hotz's claims as not accurately representing either Tesla or MobilEye.

Part of the issue, Tesla points out, is that relying solely on vision-based systems opens you up to misclassifications of objects.

"Making such mistakes at 70 mph would be highly problematic," Tesla suggests, dryly.

Instead, the Model S' Autopilot system – which allows drivers to hand over control of the steering, acceleration, and braking of their car to the onboard systems, when driving in highway conditions – uses a mixture of radar, ultrasonics, GPS, and various cameras. Tesla describes the MobilEye vision chip, which addresses one part of that combination, as "the best in the world at what it does" and says it has no current plan to replace it.

In short, while a proof of concept of autonomous driving is one thing, delivering a reliable system that works with negligible errors is another.

Hotz's approach to autonomous driving differs from that other many other projects, in that he is attempting to build an artificial intelligence rather than simply use object-recognition.

According to the coder, who rose to prominence by being the first to hack the iPhone before going on to be sued by Sony for his efforts at unlocking the PlayStation, his system is not only more code-lite than existing technologies, but more flexible since by modeling the behaviors of a human driver it should be better able to deal with unusual situations.

SOURCE Tesla Motors