Automotive > Autonomous Vehicles Blog

Comma.ai Commabody: Troll Product Answer to Tesla Optimus Robot or Something More Interesting?

by Angelos Lakrintis | 5月 06, 2022

On May the 4th 2022, the technology company start-up Comma.ai announced a new platform to compete with the likes of Boston Dynamics robotic platforms and Tesla’s AI robotics division that want to release Tesla Optimus robot alpha version sometime this year. The Comma.ai Commabody.

Comma.ai’s CEO, George Hotz, said that the aim of this product is to create the basic platform for General Artificial Intelligence (GAI), a term that a lot of people working in the Artificial Intelligence field believe it is non-existent or not yet achieved with the current technology and techniques.

Comma ai_small

Commabody looks and feels like a telepresence robot that’s been widely used for conferences, talks and meetings but, by mounting the comma three devkit on the platform, it’s becoming an autonomous vehicle on two wheels.

The body base has open-source firmware directly controlling two 150W sensored brushless motors, allowing instant torque. And since they have hall effect sensors, one can achieve precise wheel odometry without an encoder that can slip. It uses an industry standard CAN bus for all communication, has an OBD-C connector, and appears to the comma three like a car.

The comma three has 3 cameras, broadcast with sub 100 ms latency through an H265 encoder. Onboard, it has a Kalman filter running at 100Hz integrating the IMU and camera odometry to determine it's 3-DoF position. With the addition of a little SLAM, it will be easy to get 6-DoF that exceeds the precision of VR headsets. It also integrates with PlotJuggler to live plot all the sensors. All the tools for openpilot development work on the body.

The comma three platform runs Ubuntu 20.04 with a normal SSH server. It's responsive enough to develop on, including with VS Code remote. No dealing with cross compilation, downloading firmware, and variants of Linux like Yocto that dev kits love to run. It's full apt-get ready Ubuntu; git, vim, tmux all included.

The comma body runs our open-source software called openpilot and provided by Comma.ai. From openpilot’s perspective, the comma body is a vehicle. It runs the same camera and logging software, so Comma.ai is able to learn from the fleet of bodies in the same way the company learns from its fleet of vehicles with the retrofitted comma three on the front windshield.

Comma body is still a devkit and it costs $999 retail price, in order to run this device, one should purchase the comma three module separately which retail price starts from $1999.

One thing I can say for certain is that the Commabody product has beaten Tesla on the release date and availability of the robot. 

For more information on Tesla's Robotics Division and the Tesla Optimus robot, please refer to this Strategy Analytics insight: Tesla AI Day: Fusion of Robotics and Automotive Grade Components

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