At comma, our mission is:
Solve self driving cars while delivering shippable intermediaries.
But we are actually going to finish that soon™️. Once we do, our new mission will be:
Solve AI while delivering shippable intermediaries.
The comma body is the first “intermediary” for the new mission. It’s also the pathway to supporting all cars that a human can drive. The endgame of comma isn’t a box that sits on your windshield, it’s a robot person that gets in the driver’s seat. And it will be able to do a lot more than drive.
What is AI?
The best test I’ve seen for AI is the coffee test. Proposed by Steve Wozniak, the test is:
To enter an average household and make a cup of coffee with stuff found in the house.
In our opinion, this is a lot harder than driving. Driving exists in this uncanny valley where some people still believe that you can code all of the rules. While we don’t believe coding the rules is feasible, at least all good drivers are good in the same way, meaning that they all take similar actions given a scene.
This is not true for the coffee test, where the actions taken can diverge wildly, yet the outcome can be good in both cases. We also need hardware to run the coffee making software on, since you can’t use a car.
What is the comma body?
comma body is “the future of people.” You buy a comma body, buy a comma three (the head), attach the comma three to the body, and watch it come to life.
We believe that in order to solve AI, for most people’s definition, you must be embedded in the real world. We define AI as a machine that can do every task at least as well as a human. And in order to do human tasks, it helps a lot to have a human like body. The comma body is the beginning of that journey.
Today it’s a mobile platform for the comma three, but we will be building a knee and arms for it. Like everything we do, we try to distill the problem down to its essence, so unlike some companies, we aren’t focused on the humanoid shape. Wheels are a fine form of locomotion for cooking and cleaning, the dream tasks of the comma body. Two arms, a knee, and a comma three should complete a comma person (sold separately, knee and arm coming in 2022/2023).
How can I get one?
36 lucky people placed preorders for the body, and had the option to purchase the body for $599. You are in “body EPHOT” while we work together to fix bugs in the software, and your body has already shipped! For everyone else, you can place an order today for the body for $999, and it will ship in 1-3 months, first in, first out. Prices go up.
What software does it run?
The comma body runs openpilot! From openpilot’s perspective, the comma body is a car. It runs the same camera and logging software, so we’ll be able to learn from the fleet of bodies in the same way we learn from our fleet of cars.
At launch, the software will balance the body (using the same localizer as the car!) and allow you to drive it around via web interface. Shortly we’ll add video streaming to that web interface, allowing you to drive your body outside line of sight. We’d also like to add a VR app to drive the body from a first person view, this will be needed by the time we ship the arms.
Once we start getting data back from our body fleet, we can train models. The first model we will train (jointly with the driving model!) is a posenet, allowing inside out position tracking. When this model is shipped, the localizer will change from 3-DoF to 6-DoF. And once the dead reckoning is similar quality to what we have on the cars, adding a SLAM system will be very simple to allow drift free localization in your environment.
The comma body is just the first step. It’s a wonderful robotics development kit, and the start of something much bigger.
One day we dream that 3 comma bodies will get into an openpilot car, drive to Phoenix, open a donut shop, run said donut shop, and bring the profits back once a week. The potential of AI.
But today, it balances, rolls around, and looks beautiful. Place your order now.