Aptera Motors is back with its second exciting news update this week, announcing it has selected an open-source driver assistance system called “openpilot” as its official system that will be integrated into its production model solar EVs.
Aptera Motors continues to take large strides in 2023 on its journey to reaching the holy grail of scaled EV production, hopefully sometime next year. The startup’s recently-extended Accelerator program should help it garner some big funding to purchase the necessary equipment for SEV production, which will be reimbursed by a recently-awarded grant in California for $21 million.
We got our first glimpse of Aptera’s Launch Edition this past January, and the hype train for the first commercialized solar EV keeps chugging along. If and when those Launch Editions roll off Aptera’s assembly line, we now know drivers will be able to utilize functions like adaptive cruise control and lane centering thanks to the openpilot driver assistance system.
Aptera selects top-ranked driver assistance system
According to the news from Aptera Motors today, its engineers will create and maintain the necessary code specific to its solar EV that can interface with the open-source driver assistance system openpilot, originally developed by comma.ai, though the companies currently have zero affiliation.
Previously voted the number one driver assistance system by Consumer Reports, openpilot is the only consumer system available (aside from Tesla) that can halt at stop signs and red lights, while only using 1/10th the power. As a result, Aptera states future owners should see virtually-zero efficiency loss while using the driver assistance system. Veteran openpilot community member Chris McCammon is spearheading the Aptera integration and shared his thoughts on how the open-source system has evolved since 2017:
Since then, the software has matured immensely and now supports over 200 vehicle models with an easy-to-install kit. Even though openpilot has vastly surpassed nearly all driver assistance systems on the market today, big auto players have not embraced it. They continue to throw hundreds of millions of dollars into developing their own inferior systems, while openpilot is open-source software that anyone can implement for free.
That’s another savvy business move by Aptera Motors as it looks to minimize expenses in finally… hopefully, bringing its long-promised SEVs to the masses. Aptera cofounder and co-CEO Steve Fambro is already a fan:
I’ve been using openpilot in my existing vehicle for over 6 months and have been blown away. It has completely changed how I drive, and I can’t picture a more efficient way for Aptera drivers to be a part of the autonomous future.
Aptera says that it is currently deciphering exactly how openpilot driver assistance can best be integrated into its vehicles and that several validation steps will be required leading up to the solar EV’s start of production. Right now, the plan is to deliver openpilot-capable SEVs to customers, who will then receive a shipment of the compatible hardware that can be installed thereafter in under 30 minutes.
You can learn more about openpilot and its integration into future Aptera vehicles from McCammon in the video posted by the startup this afternoon.