Automakers and lawmakers are trying to figure out to implement some level of oversight of autonomous vehicles, but in the meantime some robot cars have already hit the road. For example, there’s college student Jorgen Brevenson’s Honda Civic, which he outfitted with autonomous gadgetry for just $700. Seven hundred dollars!
In an interview with the MIT Technology Review, Brevenson explains he relied on the open-source self-driving car kit made by Comma.ai. You might recall Comma.ai from last fall, when the company’s CEO George Hotz introduced his Comma One driving kit, and said it could transform a boring traditional car into a hi-tech self-driving robot.
Jorgenson set about ordering the parts needed to build up Comma’s device, the Neo, the same day Hotz dumped the plans online. He had been following Comma’s fortunes, and he happened to own a 2016 Honda Civic, one of the two models supported by the company’s software (the other is the 2016 Acura ILX).
A Neo is built from a OnePlus 3 smartphone equipped with Comma’s now-free Openpilot software, a circuit board that connects the device to the car’s electronics, and a 3-D-printed case. Jorgenson got the case printed by an online service and soldered the board together himself.
Law professors told the tech outlet that drivers are completely within legal bounds to fix up their car as they please. Jorgensen told MIT’s review that he tooled about town with his grandma, who seemed relatively at ease with his homemade concoction.
“She wasn’t really flabbergasted—I think because she’s seen so much from technology by now,” Jorgensen said. Must be a cool grandma.