Want to make your own self-driving car? This software is here to help

Some code know-how required

You may know all about self-driving cars and even welcome their arrival, but what if you could actually make one on your own?

Thanks to famed hacker Geohot (née George Hotz) and his startup Comma.ai, you're already more than halfway there. 

In a move sure to inspire tinkerers everywhere, the crew at Comma.ai has released their self-driving software for free on Github. Called openpilot, the code allows anyone with the know-how to use it to create a semi-autonomous vehicle. 

Openpilot's abilities are about on par with Tesla's Autopilot when it launched, the company says, though also adds that it's better than what other car makers are putting on the market. 

There are some limitations, however. At the moment, openpilot only performs the Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Assist System functions found in two cars: the Acura ILX 2016 with AcuraWatch Plus and Honda Civic 2016 Touring Edition. 

Cell phone smarts

You'll also need a bit of hardware called the Comma neo to get your openpilot-powered self-driving car up and running. Of course, you'll have to build this yourself.

Comma.ai did release instructions on how to build the Comma NEOS, which utilizes a OnePlus 3 smartphone and runs a stripped down version of Android called NEOS. 

Build your own Comma neo

The company is quick to stress safety, noting drivers must always be able to take over control of a vehicle and that proper laws and regulations must be followed at all times. 

The last bit is interesting considering open sourcing the code actually skirts regulators, who previously gave Geohot trouble when he came close to releasing a self-driving car product just a short time ago.

The openpilot code and Comma neo guide aren't products for sale, however, and making them available to anyone could lead to faster acceleration of self-driving car technology. 

That, or the creation of a radical fleet of autonomous Honda Civics. 

We kid, of course.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michelle is TechRadar's Senior News Editor and is based in the Bay Area. Covering all things tech, Michelle is obsessed with good handsets, smart machines and self-driving cars. With an eye on every corner of the industry, Michelle aims to bring you the most useful and entertaining bits about the tech you love. Got a tip? Drop her a line!