What Is Comma AI?

Pradip Maheshwari
What Is Comma AI

Comma AI. This innovative startup, founded by George Hotz in 2015, has set out to transform the driving experience for millions of car owners worldwide. Comma AI’s mission is openpilot, an open-source, semi-automated driving software that promises to enhance the capabilities of existing vehicles. Let’s dive deep into what Comma AI is, its features, and how you can use this groundbreaking technology to upgrade your driving experience.

What Is Comma AI?

Comma AI is a tech startup that has positioned itself at the forefront of the driver assistance revolution. The company’s flagship product, openpilot, is designed to replace and improve upon the advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) found in many modern vehicles. By combining sophisticated software with purpose-built hardware, Comma AI aims to bring advanced semi-autonomous driving capabilities to a wide range of car models.

Key Features of Comma AI’s openpilot:

  • Supports over 250 car models as of 2023
  • Boasts a user base of 6000+ drivers
  • Has accumulated more than 90 million miles of real-world driving data
  • Runs on Comma 2, Comma 3, or Comma X hardware
  • Offers regular software updates to improve performance and add features
  • Provides a “natural” and human-like driving experience
  • Ranked above competitors like Tesla’s Autopilot by Consumer Reports in 2020
  • Open-source software, allowing for community contributions and improvements

How Comma AI Works

Comma AI’s openpilot system functions as an aftermarket retrofit for compatible vehicles. The system consists of two main components:

  1. Hardware: The Comma 2, Comma 3, or Comma X device, which serves as the brain of the system. These devices are equipped with powerful computing capabilities and enhanced vision systems.
  2. Software: The openpilot software, which processes data from the vehicle’s sensors and cameras to control steering, acceleration, and braking.

When installed, the Comma AI system takes over the vehicle’s existing ADAS functions, offering improved performance and a more refined driving experience. The system is designed to work seamlessly with the vehicle’s existing controls, allowing for easy engagement and disengagement.

How To Use Comma AI

Getting started with Comma AI’s openpilot system involves several steps:

Check Compatibility:

  • Visit comma.ai/vehicles to ensure your car model is supported.
  • Currently, openpilot works with over 250 different car models.

Choose and Purchase Hardware:

  • Select between Comma 2, Comma 3, or Comma X based on your needs and budget.
  • The Comma 3 and X are the latest models with enhanced features.

Install the Hardware:

  • Connect the Comma device to your car’s OBDII port using the provided harness.
  • Power on the device; openpilot will start automatically.

Calibrate the System:

  • Follow the on-screen instructions to calibrate the front-facing cameras.
  • This step is crucial for accurate lane centering and object detection.

Engage openpilot:

  • Once calibrated, activate openpilot by pressing the Cruise button on your steering wheel.
  • The system will take control of steering, acceleration, and braking.

Monitor and Stay Alert:

  • Keep your hands on the steering wheel and remain ready to take over at any time.
  • openpilot will disengage if it detects a lack of driver attention.

Important Considerations

  • openpilot is a driver assistance system, not a fully autonomous driving solution. Always stay alert and ready to take control.
  • The system performs best on highways and roads with clear lane markings. It may have difficulties in complex driving scenarios or poor weather conditions.
  • As an open-source project, you can review, modify, and contribute to the openpilot codebase on GitHub.
  • If you encounter issues during setup or use, the Comma AI community on Discord is known for being helpful and responsive.
  • Comma AI offers a 30-day return policy if you’re not satisfied with the product.

The Comma AI Experience

Users of Comma AI’s openpilot system often report a significant improvement in their driving experience. The system is praised for its smooth operation and ability to handle various driving situations with a natural, human-like approach. This contributes to reduced driver fatigue, especially on long journeys or in heavy traffic.

The regular software updates provided by Comma AI ensure that the system continues to improve over time, adding new features and refining existing ones. This commitment to ongoing development sets Comma AI apart from many traditional automotive manufacturers, whose ADAS systems may remain static for years.

However, it’s worth noting that some users, particularly those in Europe, have reported that the setup process may not be as straightforward as the marketing materials suggest. The company’s primary focus on the US market means that international users might need to put in extra effort during installation and configuration. Despite these challenges, the active Comma AI community often steps in to provide support and solutions.


Comma AI represents a significant leap forward in the democratization of advanced driver assistance technology. By offering an aftermarket solution that can enhance the capabilities of existing vehicles, Comma AI is making semi-autonomous driving features accessible to a wider range of drivers.

The combination of powerful hardware, sophisticated software, and an engaged community of users and developers makes Comma AI a compelling option for those looking to upgrade their driving experience. While it’s important to remember that openpilot is not a fully autonomous system and requires constant driver attention, it offers a glimpse into the future of automotive technology.

As Comma AI continues to refine its offerings and expand its compatibility, it’s likely that we’ll see even more impressive features and capabilities in the future. For now, drivers of compatible vehicles have the opportunity to experience a taste of the future of driving, today.

Whether you’re a tech enthusiast, a safety-conscious driver, or simply someone looking to make their daily commute more comfortable, Comma AI’s openpilot system offers an intriguing glimpse into the future of automotive technology. As always, it’s crucial to approach any new technology with a clear understanding of its capabilities and limitations, ensuring that you use it responsibly and safely on the road.

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