Fully autonomous cars are still far away. Even the most advanced projects still have several years ahead of tests and adjustments; but in many cases, the bases are already laid, and "just" must be built on.
As the cost of this technology lowers, we will see more and more vehicles capable of taking us along the road safely; But what if that time has come? Comma.ai is a startup that believes so. It was founded by George Hotz, famous for being the first to hack the iPhone, who now believes that everyone should be able to have an autonomous car without having to wait for the big companies.
OpenPilot is the software developed by this startup, and as the name implies, it is open; That means that anyone can download the code and try it in their car, and there are already some brave ones who have dared, such as the enthusiastic Logan LeGrand, who has uploaded several videos in which he demonstrates the operation of this technology.
Any car can be autonomous with this technology
LeGrand has modified its 2019 Toyota Corolla, a car that does not have the necessary hardware to be autonomous. As he demonstrates in his videos, using OpenPilot, an adapter, and a mobile, it is possible to achieve autonomous functions; for example, letting the car drive alone on a highway, apparently regardless of the situation
And the videos have been recorded in a variety of situations. Day, night, in the middle of a traffic jam and with the empty road; Even in the middle of a storm, the car is able to stay in its lane and detect the presence of other vehicles. The software runs on the mobile, which displays messages for the driver to take the wheel when necessary.
To control the car, OpenPilot has to connect to its systems using an ODB adapter; Comma.ai once offered a complete package with everything needed to make a car autonomous, but the US authorities avoided its sale.
Now that the software is open, Comma.ai states that "millions" of people are testing the software and improving it with each trip. And it is that OpenPilot is based on machine learning, recording how we drive our car and copying ourselves; Therefore, the more we drive, the better the system.
Not everyone agrees with the concept of Comma.ai. Most manufacturers believe that radar systems are needed to achieve full autonomy; Tesla instead dismisses the radar in favor of the large number of cameras installed in their cars. But Comma.ai basically states that all this is a hoax, and that we can turn our cars into autonomous for very little money.