Are self-driving cars ripe for a low-end disruption before they even hit the road? In much the same way the open-source, highly compatible and customizable Linux operating system presented a low-end disruption by being “good enough”, will open-source software disrupt a market currently driven by proprietary R&D? George “Geohot” Hotz, the hacker known for disabling security software on the iPhone and Playstation 3 has released the source code for a semi-autonomous driving car system similar to Tesla’s Autopilot after he started receiving questions from the US NHTSA (transportation safety regulatory agency). Another project called “Udacity”, led by the creator of the Y-Combinator startup, is creating open-source challenges to act as an impetus for the development of an open source self-driving car.
Could the extra competition introduced by an open source development community accelerate the development of a self-driving car that will have a cascading effect of low-end disruptions to shipping and transit? Will a lower barrier to entry accelerate competition in the low end and make high end competition less viable for an emerging technology?