Brevan Jorgenson, a college student, converted his Honda Civic into a self-driving car. The super kid took his grandma for a ride in his modified Civic and showed how a homemade device in place of the rear-view mirror could control the accelerator, steering, and brakes. Jorgenson used a camera that identifies road markings and other cars, according to MIT Technology Review.
What drives such motivation?
Jorgenson, a senior at the University of Nebraska, said of his grandmother, “She wasn’t really flabbergasted—I think because she’s seen so much from technology by now.”
The boy said that others are more curious after seeing the device he made using plans and software downloaded from the Internet, which cost him somewhere around $700. Jorgenson stated that he could not convince his girlfriend to take a ride in the car, as she does not have full faith in the technology he made.
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“She’s worried it’s going to crash the car,” he says.
Over the past couple of years, many big and small auto and tech companies have started testing modified and self-driving cars. The motivation to do such magic comes from the fun and challenge of getting the technology working and making it even simpler.
Kiki Jewell, another tech enthusiast who worked on converting her Chevy Bolt into a self-driving car as a learning experience, stated that her spouse has been quite supportive, as he is also partly interested in the self-driving idea.
“My husband’s happy I’m interested to ease his commute,” she said.
How Jorgenson build his self-driving tech
Jewell’s and Jorgenson’s projects may have gotten some help from the founder of Comma.ai, a San Francisco startup that was developing a $999 device which was supposed to upgrade vehicles to steer on the highway and maneuver in stop-and-go traffic. Founder George Hotz, however, discontinued the plan to launch any such product after he received a letter from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asking about the functionality of the device.
In November, Hotz released the hardware designs and software for free, stating that he wanted to encourage researchers and hobbyists, notes the MIT Technology Review. Jorgenson ordered the parts needed to build Comma’s device the same day when Hotz made his plans public. Jorgenson, who was interested in Comma’s functionality, luckily had a 2016 Honda Civic, one of the two models supported by Comma’s software.
Jorgenson first tested his invention in late January.
“It was dark on the interstate, and I tested it by myself because I figured if anything went wrong I didn’t want anybody else in the car,” he said.