Even though car manufacturers insist that self-driving cars are here, it would take a few more years before we can see them on the road. In fact, experts believe that fully self-driving vehicles won’t be available to the public until 2020 at the earliest. Still, this doesn’t stop many people from wanting to have their own driverless cars.
For those who can’t wait to have a self-driving vehicle, they can get the Comma.ai, an aftermarket system that turns ordinary cars into autonomous ones. Understandably, it won’t work on older cars, but it’s a good fit for vehicles that already have electronic power steering and stability control. It’s set to be released by the end of the year, although it remains to be seen if it would actually be available by that time.
Comma.ai is different from the systems that most automobile manufacturers use in that it doesn’t provide a set of hard rules for vehicles to follow. Rather, it uses algorithms to learn from the driving patterns of real people. Comma.ai founder and CEO George Hotz explains that they “get data from good drivers and even bad drivers so we know what not to do” and feed these information to the machine to create a driving agent.
Comma.ai plans to obtain these data through its Chffr app, which will be launched in June. Users need to download the app on their smartphone and mount their device to their dash; from there, the app will track the users’ driving habits and transmit this info to the Comma.ai database. Users will earn points for every mile they log, and those with the highest points can receive a reward.
For now, Comma.ai is still in beta testing phase. It will reportedly be priced around $1,000 when it’s released, making it decidedly a cheaper option than buying a completely new self-driving car.