New Autonomous Device Available to Consumers Offers Affordable Self-Driving Experience

Jocelyn Jones, co-owner of Stratton Motor Cars in Phoenix, will soon be among the first in the Valley to test out a new self-driving technology that is now available to consumers to purchase and install in their own cars. 

The device, Comma 3X, is the latest and most refined hardware product from Comma that is making the “hands-free” driving experience more accessible and affordable for drivers. Currently on the market for $1,250, the Comma 3X runs on an open-source advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) called Openpilot that connects to your car’s cameras and lane assist technology to give it autonomous features, including the functions of Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Automated Lane Centering (ALC). The device can be installed in 30 minutes and is compatible with over 250 car models. 

“I was surprised to see the price and how accessible this technology has become,” says Jones. “I’m so excited and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it!”  

Jones opened Stratton Motor Cars with her husband in 2016, an automotive customization shop that offers clients personalized appearance, maintenance and basic custom services for a wide range of luxury and performance vehicles. She recently covered the Comma 3X in a monthly newsletter to her clients, and to her surprise, a client purchased the product and gave the shop permission to install the hardware and be one of the first to test drive the new technology on the road. 

“Being one of the first has its perks, but I’m mostly excited to see more people embrace the autonomous driving experience!” says Jones. “Since we’ll be taking the car to a rural area, I’m curious to see its responses and delays where maybe the lines in the road might be a little less visible.”  

The Comma 3X, which looks similar to a smartphone, attaches to your car’s rear-view mirror with a bracket and displays a screen showing a map of your destination. The hardware features three HDR cameras, including two to watch the road and one with night-vision to see inside the car to make sure the driver is alert at all times. It also uses sensors and connectivity like LTE, Wi-Fi and GPS for a seamless autonomous driving experience that can last for hours without interruption. 

“The manufacturer claims a 96% success rate, compared to something like your phone, for example, which is around 97%, so I’m looking forward to experiencing the device’s ‘driving personality’ and I’m expecting it to be a lot like riding in a Waymo,” adds Jones. “Autonomous vehicles are designed to drive intuitively. This particular device is only ‘piggybacking’ off of features that your car already has, like adaptive cruise control and lane assist, so I think it will be really fun to watch!”

In light of the setbacks and safety hazards that multiple autonomous vehicle companies are facing on the roads, it’s important to note that driver assist devices available to consumers, like the Comma 3X and Openpilot technology, are not intended to be used without a driver in the seat monitoring the road. However, for individuals like Jones and her client, it’s exciting to see self-driving features become more accessible and affordable for consumers and continue to transform the driving experience in Phoenix. 

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