comma.ai launched not too long ago as a venture to create more affordable and accessible self-driving vehicles. After some mishaps, the company has refocused its efforts towards consumer-oriented car accessories, which has now been expanded with the release of the new EON Dashcam. The latest device from the self-driving car company combines standard dashcam features like drive-recording with navigation, music streaming and more.
In the early days of the company, comma.ai strove to bring an affordable kit to market that could convert just about any car into a self-driving one. A few years down the line, the goal has shifted to leveraging its self-driving car AI towards consumer-oriented add-on products for vehicles. The EON Dashcam is the latest addition to comma.ai’s lineup and began as an iOS and Android application from the company.
The AI-backed company’s new dashcam combines drive-recording, navigation and music into a single device. It serves as a noticeably upgraded version of its smartphone app chffr as well. And as you can expect, boasts improved software and added features compared to its predecessor.
EON’s dedicated hardware is based around a custom version of Android named chffrplus that is more simplistic than the mobile phone operating system typically is. This not only makes EON more efficient and offers greater stability, but also allows music streaming and navigation apps like Waze and Spotify to run natively on the dashcam.
Just like the smartphone app it’s based on, EON is cloud-based, meaning the dashcam’s storage won’t be eaten up by all of your captured driving footage. This also allows you to view your driving records from anywhere and on just about any device. As a noticeable upgrade to the smartphone app, EON automatically begins recording once you begin driving, so there’s no need to manually launch an app to get coverage of your driving session.
As for compatibility, EON works with any vehicle that has a USB charging port. comma.ai’s dashcam also comes with everything you need to get started, making it easier to start recording your drives. For developers and tinkerers, comma.ai has open-sourced its chffrplus operating system. The actual unit can be tweaked as well, with full access to EON’s underlying code.
While comma.ai’s vision has shifted since forming, the company is still hard at work developing an open-source and affordable self-driving car system. The EON dashcam utilizes your driving history as a way to continue training its in-house self-driving AI software, just as the company’s smartphone apps do.
At the lavish price tag of $699, comma.ai’s new dashcam certainly isn’t the most affordable option. But for those with an interest in self-driving cars, EON is a more practical way to explore those technologies. Setting out to be “the Android of self-driving cars”, the EON dashcam is a great step in the right direction.