Acura just got a self-driving car thanks to this hacker

Geohotz jailbreaks an Acura ILX

The cockpit of George Hotz self driving Acura ILX

Famed iPhone and PS3 jailbreaker George Hotz, or geohot, is back again with a new hack, and this time it's a self-driving car. The 26-year-old hacker started with a 2016 Acura ILX with AcuraWatch Plus package and added laser-based radar (LIDAR) and additional cameras to serve as the car's eyes.

The ILX features the AcuraWatch Plus suite of driver assist technologies, which includes Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) that helps keep the car in the lane. Most importantly, when the car is traveling at speeds above 40 mph on mildly curvy or straight roads, the LKAS can help steer the car so it stays in the center of the lane.

Normally, LKAS warns the driver if it doesn't detect steering input, and automatically disables itself until the car is restarted, after three warnings. Hotz installs a computer with a mess of cables and GPS sensors to tap into the vehicle's internal bus to take control. The computer, which runs Linux and is connected to a 21.5-inch LCD, replaces the car's glovebox and functions as an artificial intelligence system.

A gaming joystick is installed in the center console of the ILX, and with a single pull, the self-driving system engages. While the install looks like a cluttered mess, Hotz wants to eventually produce a camera package with accompany software for $1000 to automakers and custom vehicle shops.

It's a crazy, but cool endeavor from the former electronics hacker. Check out the full story on Bloomberg.

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