Working with comma: A Guide for Car Companies

By | December 15, 2020

After Consumer Reports tested our product, we’ve seen a big uptick in reach outs from car companies. Some have understood us better than others.

Our mission is to solve self driving cars while delivering shippable intermediaries, and we are very focused on this mission. By solve self driving cars, we mean develop software that’s capable of driving a car better than a human (Level 5).

The prospect of millions of dollars or millions of users don’t really interest us, since they don’t help with the mission. We have more data and ability to get money than we know what to do with.

That said, we think there can be mutually beneficial cooperation. We believe openpilot is considerably better than what your research divisions have, so they should be building off of it instead (it’s MIT licensed), getting you more research for each dollar spent. Also, a surprising amount of our 5,000 users purchased a new car with openpilot in mind, so if you make the experience better, you will sell more cars.

Here are two concrete ways we can work together.

Pull Requests to openpilot

Many of the drivers in Linux are maintained by the companies that make the hardware. We imagine a similar situation here, where car companies maintain and improve their brand port. We have brand ports for Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen already, but there’s many quirks and more models of car to be supported in each port.

In addition, many of the messages in opendbc are incomplete, the tuning isn’t high quality for all cars, and not all cars support openpilot longitudinal control. You can improve this for your car!

Have your research teams fork openpilot and get started today. You could leave the code in a fork, but the advantage to upstreaming to comma is both a code review and some future maintenance done for you.

Add OBD-C Port to your car

All current and planned future comma hardware uses the OBD-C port to communicate with the car. Since this port isn’t on any production cars yet, our users add it using a car harness. It would be great if this port was added to future cars.

This would make for a better openpilot experience, which means both more car sales and more software support from comma, since we put time into improving cars roughly in order of popularity on our network.

OBD-C (Female)

There’s more info about OBD-C in the car harness repo. This port replaces the OBD-II port with a more modern alternative.

If you’d like to chat further, come join our Discord. You certainly wouldn’t be the first car company there. If discord doesn’t work for you and you’d like to talk privately, we offer phone call meetings for $1000.

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