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Tesla Autopilot vs Geohot challenges Elon Musk to navigate the Golden Gate Bridge

geohot driverless car

Notorious hacker George “geohot” Hotz created some buzz after his self-driving car/machine learning startup ‘’ came out of stealth mode last year. Hotz released an email conversation he had with Tesla CEO Elon Musk in which he was offered a contract with a “multimillion-dollar bonus” for him to build a new Autopilot system for Tesla.

Hotz refused the offer and said that he could build a self-driving car system himself. He then reportedly made a bet with Musk that his system, which he installed in an Acura, will beat a Tesla Model S with Autopilot on Interstate 405 in Los Angeles. At the time (Dec 2015), the hacker said that he would release a video of the challenge “in a few months”.

We have yet to see that video, but now it looks like the rules of the challenge have changed. is not just Hotz working alone in his garage anymore. It was revealed last month that the startup secured funding from high-profile VC firm Andreessen Horowitz — potentially bringing the startup’s valuation to $20 million.

The news was confirmed this week when the fund reported leading a $3.1 million investment in the company.

Now and Hotz has taken to Twitter to challenge Musk and Tesla again:

[tweet align=’center’]

The new challenge is to build the first vehicle that can autonomously navigate San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge without human intervention. According to the Guardian, Musk hasn’t responded.

While still talking about Musk and Tesla, Hotz followed up:

Featured image: Bloomberg by Peter Bohler

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  1. QC - 7 years ago

    So basically straight line with clear road markings? Don’t see the catch here.

    • Steve Grenier - 7 years ago

      Traffic I guess.

    • Peter - 7 years ago

      They make the lanes larger at different times of the day over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. See the video on
      But this shouldn’t be a problem for a Tesla Model S/X.

    • Clance Heimervixen - 7 years ago

      The old toll plaza and the approach on Doolittle drive are pretty tricky.

  2. darthbelichick07 - 7 years ago

    I suspect George Hotz doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, but, props for them getting this far with a skeleton crew. And, if he can truly strike upon an aftermarket approach, he will in fact be a billionaire and change the world in the process.

  3. Brandon S. Levasseur - 7 years ago

    This guy shouldn’t be ne s worth and should be ignored.

  4. thegamingart - 7 years ago

    Why are we giving this idiot attention?

    • Fred Lambert - 7 years ago

      I don’t think idiot is the right word. He is a lot things. but humble and idiot are not among them.

      • thegamingart - 7 years ago

        Oh no, this guy is not intelligent by any means contrary to belief thanks to media

      • thegamingart - 7 years ago

        Idiot is definitely at the top when describing him and his actions

      • md - 7 years ago

        He is the Shkreli of the tech world, a sociopath with a deluded sense of self worth.

    • focher - 7 years ago

      He’s many things, but idiot is not one of them. How about just criticize his behavior and not make – obviously ridiculous – assertion that he is stupid. Just is very over-the-top for the whole thing.

  5. BByrne - 7 years ago

    Tesla’s response should be “Anyone with a Model S should feel free to take him up on his challenge.”

  6. Thom U - 7 years ago

    Regardless of whether Hotz’s technology works — better than Tesla’s or not at all — what a douchey way of hyping it. Pharma-Bro who bought the $2 million Wu Tang album comes to mind…

    • Fred Lambert - 7 years ago

      Come on. Hotz is certainly far from being likable, but comparing him to an alleged fraudster is unfair. He actually accomplished quite a few impressive things, especially in his “geohot days”, obviously it got to his head, but still. All the hacking marathons and vulnerability sniffing comps he won are undeniable achievements.

      • Thom U - 7 years ago

        You’re right of course, I was exaggerating. But he started it! 😉

  7. Reggie Overton - 7 years ago

    First off, Tesla is not claiming they have a full autonomous car. Second, I like Hotz, but he doesn’t need to create this drama to get people to notice his product. If he builds great product people will notice.

    • focher - 7 years ago

      Agree. He’s clearly very smart and has repeatedly proven it in his still very young life. Problem with youth is that it doesn’t always come with humility. He’s apparently trying to ensure attention, and who better to go against than the established market leader. For the rest of us, it’s not a zero sum game so the more the better.

  8. nombre - 7 years ago

    can’t tell if that’s FU Elon or “fuel on” being a dirty ICE car.

    • devinserpa - 7 years ago

      Oh interesting, I only saw Fuel On, until I saw your comment. It may have been FU Elon, but it’s hard to ignore being a dirty ICE.

    • Richard Needham - 7 years ago

      Great observation. I think it’s “fu elon”.

    • kijijigod - 7 years ago

      It is absolutely FU Elon!

  9. Doug Pulse - 7 years ago

    Perhaps they have agreed to disagree thereby generating interest and excitement from which they both benefit. It is kind of exciting and reminiscent of the “good ol’ days” when wheels were just getting engines.

  10. Ed - 7 years ago

    I am sure he is a very smart guy – not any average Joe can build a “semi” self-driving car out of his garage. On this challenge, he is in fact very smart to use Tesla popularity to get him and his startup the attention – think free marketing.

  11. Mitchell - 7 years ago

    This fool with his challenges. Why isn’t he doing the same to Google or Apple? He probably got screwed by Elon and deserved it. His aftermarket product is in no way competition to Tesla’s Autopilot. He’s just an attention seeker and considers Elon his best target. He is not and idiot but he is a fool.

  12. danfrederiksen1 - 7 years ago

    I don’t think it’s impossible for a single good man to eclipse Tesla’s current system, indeed that might be quite easy givne identified blindspots in easy situations, but I have only seen overconfidence from Steve Holt so far and very little in terms of demonstration and insight. He is using an acura which already has a tesla style highway cruise and it’s unclear that he has added anything but a large display to it.
    I understand he has done quality work in the past in a different field but his current errors in judgment would seem to hurt his chances.


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