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Kirk Hilles
Jan 17·4 min read

How to install OpenPilot on an OP3T or LeEco Le Pro3 phone

Go to the profile of Kirk Hilles

Important! I am as cheap as anybody else and hate spending money but even I still bought an EON Gold from Comma for my “self driving” Accord. This homebrew device is for DATA COLLECTION only and does NOT do any actual driving. Note that I’ve also ordered: Grey Panda, White Panda and a Giraffe from Comma.

If you are considering getting one to actually control your vehicle, then just purchase one from Comma . Support them and be using the same device as others to make troubleshooting consistent. Note that while the phone IS the same, the case and mount are NOT the same.

LeEco Le Pro 3

Okay, first things first: an overview. Comma AI’s OpenPilot is a mostly Open Source platform that supplements the driving assist technology in your car (like Honda’s “Sensing” technology) vastly improving on the technology. It does this by utilizing a modified Cell Phone’s camera(in this case an LeEco Le Pro 3 phone) to replace the vehicle’s camera and uses AI (“visionD”) processed from millions of miles of data collected to better keep the vehicle planted in the middle of the road and (for some vehicles) uses the radar to control speed. Lots more details out there if you are interested.

Now, an overview of the hardware. Originally, the device was called NEO and it was a “homebrew” type of project. It evolved into the EON which was a complete product sold by Comma based on the OnePlus 3/T and then a revised version was built based on the LeEco Le Pro 3 phone with better cooling.

One thing to keep in mind that Comma AI is a for-profit company with expenses (like employees) while Open Source belongs to everybody. That means that there are some portions of the solution that are Open Source and others are proprietary. The software the runs Open Pilot is absolutely Open Source as well as the Android ROM, however the AI processing “visionD” software is proprietary. The case is complicated as well. The EON Gold case and circuit board that provides power to the fan is proprietary, however there IS an Open Source version called the “frEON” based loosely on the concept that fits the LeEco Le Pro 3 phone (https://github.com/ch4se/OpenFrEON).

The phone used in this install was purchased on eBay (title: “ LeEco Le Pro3, 5.5” Android Smartphone, Unlocked, 4G RAM, 64GB, 16MP CAM, Gold ”) for $115 shipped. This phone comes in various models LEX720, LEX725, LEX727 usually referred to as X720, X725 and X727. This particular phone was the X727 model.

It’s assumed that you already have ADB tools installed. There are lots of guides out there, but only a handful of the commands are needed like the “fastboot” command.

https://www.xda-developers.com/install-adb-windows-macos-linux/

This was done on a Windows machine.

This particular phone came factory locked and even after unlocking via Developer Options (https://lifehacker.com/the-coolest-features-you-can-unlock-in-androids-develop-1789517222) errors were given indicating that it was still locked.

After hours of experimenting and research, the following was found to unlock this particular model:

I downloaded the file “x727–5.8.019s_bootloader-unlock.zip” from https://www.androidfilehost.com/?fid=313042859668275431 and Extracted the file “emmc_appsboot.mbn” and placed it in my ADB folder.

  • Ran “fastboot flash aboot emmc_appsboot.mbn” (Yes, “aboot”)
  • Rebooted into Bootloader again (“fastboot reboot bootloader”)
  • Unlocked the Phone (“fastboot oem unlock-go”)

Once the phone is unlocked, all that remains for this step is to download the Open Source Android ROM.

The code is available on GitHub here:

Click the “Clone/Download” button in green on the right and “Download Zip” and extract to a folder.

If you don’t already, install 7-Zip. 
I copied all of the files to “c:\7z” for easier access.

Then do the following:

  1. Extract all .GZ files in the “images” folder (“c:\7z\7z x *.gz”)
  2. Extract all resulting .tar files in the “images” folder (“c:\7z\7z x *.tar”)
  3. Put your phone in Fastboot Mode (Hold down Power Button + DOWN arrow, note that Power+UP = Recovery Mode) and ensure is charged as well as connected to your PC
  4. Go to the “platform-tools” folder of ADB and ensure that the phone is listed (“adb devices”)

Now, we attempt to do a Flash.

  1. Run “fastboot flash boot boot.img”
  2. Run “fastboot flash recovery recovery.img”
  3. Run “fastboot flash system system.img”

Now to do cleanup.

  1. Run “fastboot format:ext4 cache
  2. Run “fastboot format:ext4 userdata
  3. Run “fastboot reboot” to Reboot the phone

Your phone should now be ready to go and install OpenPilot.

Success! We have a phone nearly identical to the phone for the EON Gold. The device automatically upgraded to the latest NEOS software, latest builds and available forks.

The only apparent differences are that it still shows the LeEco logo upon bootup and Chffr Plus wasn’t installed by default so it doesn’t need to be uninstalled.