Comma AI, an automation auto technology company, recently attended the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and unveiled its Comma Two.
Since 2016, the company has released hardware and software that takes the ADAS (Advanced driver-assistance systems) features of a vehicle and in some cases supercharges them.
I had the opportunity to test-drive a Honda Civic with the new Comma Two hardware running the Comma AI open-source OpenPilot software. On Las Vegas surface streets, the results were impressive. When activated, the system had nearly Tesla Autopilot-level control of the vehicle. It centered itself in lanes without any ping-ponging (moving back and forth between the lane lines) and had no issues going through intersections.
It also adds stop-and-go capabilities. Typically (unless the car is a high-end luxury vehicle), when a car with adaptive cruise control comes to a complete stop, after a few seconds it requires the driver to press the resume button or accelerator to continue tracking the vehicles ahead of it. With Comma Two, the car just goes. For those who battle gridlock, it's a great feature.
Another feature that I'm a fan of is driver monitoring. The system alerts you when you're not paying attention. As folks get more accustomed to their vehicles helping their driving experience there's the tendency to stop paying attention and be tempted by the lure of a smartphone. The Comma Two notes and guides your focus back with a warning.
All of this is enabled and controlled by the vehicle's own cruise control feature. Hit the "set" button on the steering wheel to turn the system on and use the plus and minus buttons to adjust the speed of the cruise control.
Comma Ai spokespersons were quick to point out that it doesn't disable or compromise any of a vehicle's safety features. Automatic braking, blind-spot monitoring, and other items are still there.
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