How to Make a Honda Civic Self-Driving for $700

Feb 23, 2017 07:00 AM EST | BC Tabotabo

A self-driving Honda Civic is out there. A college student from Nebraska was able to modify his Civic to drive itself. The best part is it only cost him $700.

Brevan Jorgenson, a senior at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, took his grandma around in his modified Civic. The car can drive itself on the highway. He was able to do this by making his own homemade device in place of a rear-view mirror.

According to the MIT Technology review, Jorgenson's homemade device can control the brakes, accelerator, and the steering. It also has a camera to help identify road markings and other vehicles on the road.

The whole Honda Civic setup cost Jorgenson the relatively low price of $700 in parts plus some plans and software he downloaded from the Internet. Kiki Jewell was also able to make her Chevy Bolt self-driving.

Jorgenson and Jewell were able to modify their Civic and Bolt vehicles thanks to, a San Francisco startup that was able to develop a $999 autonomous-converting device. The device can upgrade certain vehicles to steer themselves and follow basic stop-and-go traffic.

According to Value Walk, the company's founder, George Hotz, abruptly canceled his launch plans after they received a letter from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In November, Hotz decided to release his company's hardware designs and software for free. He wanted to empower researchers and hobbyists to convert their own cars.

Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor, has commented that the NHTSA will not stop private individuals who want to modify their vehicles. The government body only has authority over companies selling vehicle system modifications. People like Jorgenson and Jewell are free to alter their Honda Civic and Chevy Bolt, provided they do no harm to others on the road.

Comma's device is called the "Neo." A Neo uses a OnePlus 3 smartphone that comes with Comma's Openpilot software, a circuit board, and a 3-D printed case. The circuit board connects the device to the car's electronics.

What do you think about the self-driving Honda Civic? Would you like to modify your own self-driving vehicle? Share your thoughts and comments below.

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