The Half Way Point

3 minute read

The truth about the overly hyped “self driving cars” is this: they don’t really exist, and when they do exist the service will be a slower Uber. They will drive the speed limit and yield to everyone. Oh and if you’re thinking at least it’ll be cheaper ride sharing, not likely until there’s competition. Self driving cars are a scam. One look at Waymo’s cringeworthy advertising makes that obvious.

No real person has ever been this happy in the back of a minivan

Back in reality, the average American commute is 25.4 minutes. It’s mostly on the freeway. And it’s mostly unpleasant. This is what we can fix, and it is the path to practical self driving cars.

Our plan is what it was a year ago. Everything takes a long time. But we are doing it. And things are coming along.

Our hardware is sort of beautiful now.

openpilot is making less mistakes than ever. It’s gotten so good on highways, we’ve felt it necessary to [add driver monitoring](/safety-and-driver-attention/ to make sure people pay attention! It’s good, but alone, no software is as good as you.

Unlike competing products Autopilot and Super Cruise, openpilot works on cars people actually own. We support almost all new Honda and Toyota. 5 out of the top 10 cars sold. And since openpilot is open source, we’ve created a guide to help you port your car.

Still the best car interface in the world.

To help you add your car to openpilot, we’ve brought together a vibrant community of car hackers and made the best car hacking tools to ever exist. panda even made its way to Amazon. As a community, we’ve reverse engineered the protocols for almost every car maker as part of the opendbc project.

But that’s all the past.

The future — openpilot 0.5

This week marks the release of a new major version of openpilot. It includes optional driver monitoring!

If you use it, you’ll no longer have the 6 minute timer. Instead, the system will track if your head is facing the road.

Waze and Spotify have been removed to free up resources for larger models and precise localization. And from here on out, we’ll be carefully tracking mistakes the system makes and crowdsourcing corrections using… explorer

In order to get to the point where you can nap and use Twitter during your commute, we need your help. To make the system good enough, we need to drive disengagements to zero.

A “disengagement” is when you need to take over because the car made a mistake. When you drive with openpilot, you are contributing every time you correct it. And by crowdsourcing annotations for these corrections, we can figure out the mistakes our cars are making and fix them in the next version. explorer

If you have an EON, a grey panda, and an officially supported car by openpilot, you’ll see this interface. The top “timeline” shows green when you were engaged.

On the left, you’ll see all the disengagements from your trip. You’ll be asked to select a reason.

Our team gets this data and feeds it into the machine learning, and openpilot gets better.

Existing comma users, you’ll find explorer at

Call to Action

  1. Follow us on Twitter (you should already be doing this)
  2. Buy the required hardware from our lovely little shop. (reminder: that’s an EON, a grey panda, and the appropriate giraffe for your car)
  3. When it arrives, download and install the latest openpilot software. (free and open source, no warranty!)
  4. Join our slack when you inevitability run into problems. The people there are very nice. Celebrate when it all works.
  5. Drive. Commute. Go to taco bell drive thru!
  6. Annotate your drives on the explorer. Watch as openpilot gets better at your commute with every update.