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self-driving car retro-fit kits - Rounding up the Usual Suspects
Steve's Livejournal
steve98052
steve98052
self-driving car retro-fit kits
This morning started as usual, taking "T" to school. Although that and picking him up from school were the only times I got out of the house, I did something interesting by phone.

Because our car is showing a "maintenance required soon" indicator, I phoned the dealership (where we have a year of prepaid routine maintenance for a decent price) to make an appointment for an oil change. But after taking care of that, I asked to be transferred back to sales.

I opened the conversation with the sale department with something like this: "I have a 2014 Camry Hybrid and a weird question I'm not sure you an answer." (It seems like I phrased it more enigmatically than that, but that was the idea.)

"OK, now I'm intrigued."

"I'm happy with my car, and I hope I get a lot more years out of it. But self-driving cars are on their way, and insurance companies probably aren't going to allow humans to drive much longer, well before my car is obsolete. Are there plans for retrofit kits to convert cars to drive themselves?" (Loose paraphrase.)

"As a matter of fact, I just read about something like that in the past week or so. There's a start-up working on that. Let me see whether I can find it."
    Long pause.
"Found it. The name is Drive dot A I."

We talked a bit more, and I thanked him for his time and information.

Update (Friday): I took a look at the site today, and it looks like its initial market is fixed delivery routes, but that's a start. Its technology model looks promising, but given the funding level quoted in some of the articles I read about it, I think the company may be developing technology with the intention of getting bought out for its patents, rather than to maintain independence all the way to the point where consumers are ready to buy retrofit kits.

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