Back in 2020, Kommu posted a self-driving Perodua Axia equipped with an early prototype of its level 2 autonomous driving system, which garnered quite a bit of attention. Fast forward to today, the company now has an active community around KommuAssist, an enhancement to a car’s existing Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS).
But why would you want to install KommuAssist on a car that already has ADAS to start with? Well, there are a number of good reasons to do so. Reasons that are good enough to see the system installed on over 17 different car models in Malaysia right now.
If you’re not satisfied with the performance of your car’s ADAS, KommuAssist may pique your interest.
So what is KommuAssist? If you’ve heard of Comma’s openpilot open source software, Kommu actually builds upon it. Dubbed bukapilot – yes, it’s a literal translation of openpilot in Bahasa Malaysia – it’s a fork of openpilot with Kommu’s own localisations and tunings.
With that in mind, Kommu’s bukapilot software isn’t just a “copy” of openpilot. The company has put a lot of work into bukapilot, such as integrating the software to local car models like the Proton X50 shown here, the latest Perodua Myvi facelift, and even the Perodua Ativa.
Beyond that, Kommu has also done its own tunings to the bukapilot software. These include lane centering, braking behaviour, and even the set distance between the lead car.
Okay, how is it like to drive with KommuAssist? Very relaxing! Whether it’s highway cruising or going through slow-moving traffic in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, KommuAssist feels refined. Its Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) for one, is capable with minimal to no “ping-ponging.” The fact that this works from 0kmph is great too, given that the LKAS of some cars doesn’t work below a certain speed.
Another capability of KommuAssist that caught me by surprise is how well it handles corners; at least, that’s the case with the X50 I tested. The ADAS on most cars can’t quite negotiate sharper corners, but KommuAssist has no trouble dealing with such corners. Of course, you should still keep your hands on the steering wheel to properly steer the car.
As its name suggests, KommuAssist is only there to assist the driver.
The braking behaviour of KommuAssist with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) activated is quite refined as well. It feels natural and “human-like,” and there’s no sudden braking in my brief test drive with the KommuAssist-equipped X50, even if the SUV was approaching standstill traffic.
And to me, that is the most impressive aspect of KommuAssist: its ability to handle stop and go traffic saves a lot of frustration in rush hour traffic. It leaves just enough gap with the lead car to prevent other cars from cutting in, the lane centering is still good in slower traffic, and it can automatically resume driving even after the car has been stationary for a while.
I find the last feature to be particularly useful, as most cars with ADAS require the driver to step on the pedal to resume low-speed follow after stopping for a set amount of time.
Of course, it can be dangerous if the driver is unaware when KommuAssist automatically resumes driving in slow-moving traffic, but that’s where the driver awareness feature comes into the picture. The KommuVision device, besides improving a car’s ADAS, also watches over the driver with a front-facing camera.
If the KummoVision device detects that the driver is distracted – through the use of an AI model – the system will alert the driver accordingly. The alerts will gradually get more alarming the longer the driver is distracted, though the system won’t disengage. Kommu said this is done to ensure that the driving situation won’t get more dangerous, especially if the driver is already distracted.
Given that KommuAssist is a third-party installation to a car, there are warranty concerns. Well, according to Kommu, installing the system to any car will not void warranty. “As KommuAssist is a plug-and-play (retrofit) system, no wires are cut to intercept your car’s electrical system, hence it will not void your car warranty,” as the company puts it.
As you can see in the video above, it’s quite easy to install KommuAssist. Most cars with ADAS (in some form) will be supported by the system, even if it’s not in the list of compatible cars. If that’s the case for your car, you can get in touch with Kommu here to check if it can be fitted with KommuAssist.
If your car doesn’t have ADAS, you can still get KommuAssist installed, though it would only have LKAS. There’s still a form of ACC, but it’s only a partial setup; the system cannot perform any form of braking when it approaches the lead car. So think of this as a…slightly smarter passive cruise control.
Pricing wise, the standard set of KommuAssist goes for RM3,499 regardless of model, while the Semi-ACC kit costs slightly more at RM3,599. Yes, that’s not a small amount of money, but you are getting your money’s worth with the added features, in my opinion.
In the future, Kommu plans to further refine KommuAssist, such as adding the ability to slow down the car as it approaches a corner, or shifting the car slightly to the side when another vehicle gets too close. If you’d like to know more about Kommu, give its official website a visit.
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