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George Hotz's Comma.ai snags Tesla engineer to work on autonomous car tech

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Comma.ai, the autonomous car startup founded by George Hotz — "Geohot" of iPhone and Playstation hacking fame —has snagged a senior engineer from Tesla. That engineer, Riccardo Biasini, will work on integrating the autonomous software with the car, allowing the computer to control the vehicle, says Forbes.

The company raised $3.1 million earlier this month from Andreessen Horowitz and others, lending some legitimacy to the startup's efforts. Still, $3.1 million won't get you far in the self-driving car world. Nearly every car company has autonomous research underway, with many spending billions of dollars to develop the technology, not to mention huge investments from non-traditional companies like Google and Uber, which have their own self-driving aspirations.

It's possible that Comma.ai has technology that it is looking to develop and then sell to a major carmaker, much like Cruise Automation did with GM earlier this year for a rumored $1 billion.

Hotz has said he wants to develop an aftermarket autonomous driving kit to sell direct to consumers for around $1,000, though it's likely that regulatory bodies from the State of California to NHTSA would have some concerns about such a product, never mind the significant technical hurdles that he'll need to overcome. Still, Comma.ai is making hires and has some cash to burn to try and get there.