Popular Self Driving Cars – Open Source Projects

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The number of open source “self driving cars” projects are growing and all are commendable efforts but also highly ambitious. Over time, the hope is that they will mature enough for us to use them effectively on our roads without risking lives.

As of today, the majority of the commercial projects rely on simulating driving conditions of the North American market. Most importantly, California, where laws are favorable for self driving cars. However, there is a huge potential for such vehicles in Asia and Africa with completely different and at times impossible driving conditions. Those markets may not be ideal for Tesla and Google cars, but open source enthusiast can tinker around and customize it for local conditions.

At this time, these projects support a few cars only. So if you choose one platform, you are stuck with their recommended vehicle, unless you want to build your own custom libraries to support other vehicles.

Here are some notable projects out there.

OpenPilot (Comma AI)

Founder: George Hotz. Started the company as Comma.ai to build self driving car software under Comma One name. But eventually, he decided to make the code open source as OpenPilot. He also planned to share the details of the hardware associated with it under Comma Neo.

The current version of the code is compatible for certain Hondas and Acuras and is claimed to be equivalent to Tesla’s version 7 of the autopilot.

GitHub: https://github.com/commaai



Founder: Sebastian Thrun. The project is one of the most interesting ones that we reviewed. They have broken the project down into individual easily manageable challenges and are working with the community to find solutions around each problem. This makes it easier for developers to figure out where they want to contribute effectively.

Project is managed by Sebastian Thrun, who was the lead of the Stanford “Stanley” Team that won the first DARPA challenge (2006) and was also founder of the Google Car Project.

The Udacity software currently supports 2016 Lincoln MKZ.

GitHub: http://github.com/udacity/self-driving-car/

Baidu’s Project Apollo


Project Founder: Baidu. One of China’s largest technology firm, Baidu, wants to get into the electric car game and wants to jump start it with open sourcing some of the self driving car features like obstacle perception, trajectory planning, vehicle control, and vehicle operating systems.

Their website lists dozens of organizations that are part of Baidu’s Apollo project, including Ford Motor, FAW Motors, Tomtom (the once famed navigation system) and Delphi.

They have already tested self driving cars on Chinese and California roads.

Github: https://github.com/apolloauto

OSCC Project


Project Owner: PolySync Techologies. OSCC (Open Source Car Control ) enables engineers to build their own self-driving development vehicle using existing by-wire technologies on the 2014-or-later Kia Soul cars. PolySync Technologies owns the project and also offers numerous commercial services as well.

There are numerous partners listed on PolySync website including Denso, and Nvidia among others.

GitHub: https://github.com/PolySync/OSCC

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Techie by day, blogger by night. Love the outdoors, enjoy traveling and building new and interesting things. Follow me if you want to know something.

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