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Dashcams Going High-Def, High-Tech 93

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-news-for-meteor-watchers dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The next time a bear hits a car on a Russian highway, the video might be in high definition. A new wave of dashcams, on show at this week's Computex expo in Taipei, feature multiple enhancements on first-generation models that will probably be welcomed by law enforcement, insurance companies and the millions of people who browse YouTube looking at some of the amazing scenes captured from the front of a car. One of the current popular videos is of a May 2013 collision between a bear and a car (video). The accident, reportedly in Russia, sees the bear hit the front of the car and bounce off the car's windscreen before rolling several times to the side of the road. The video, and thousands of others like it, are typically shot in 480-line 'standard resolution,' but most of the new dashcams on show in Taipei this week offer 720 and 1080-line high definition." It's also becoming more common to repurpose old smartphones as dashcams using software like DailyRoads Voyager. If you've done so, what's your setup?
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Dashcams Going High-Def, High-Tech

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  • Will it be required? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:05PM (#43938161)
    The reason why we see so many dash-cam videos of Russia isn't because the Russians like recording their drives because they are so eventful, but rather insurance fraud is such a rampant problem that most insurance companies require them. So until the insurance companies start requiring HD dashcams, we might not see them since the demand for them nearly anywhere else is naturally going to be weak.
    • So until the insurance companies start requiring HD dashcams, we might not see them since the demand for them nearly anywhere else is naturally going to be weak.

      Or, the respective companies will simply stop making or selling the old models and you won't have any choice anyway.

    • "We might not see them since the demand for them nearly anywhere else is naturally going to be weak."

      I'd be inclined to imagine that the dashcam market, except to the extent that parts of it are still hanging on to hardware built around old analog video standards(and, to be fair, NTSC/PAL are crap; but composite video cabling is cheap and fairly idiot proof, so it has its charms for things like DIY rear-view cam installs, just as VGA seems likely to endure for ages in in-wall and long-run projector wiring,

      • by PPH (736903)

        On the other hand, its a matter of volume. Much of the market for small camera sensors is being driven towards HD by other applications. The day will come when you'll have to pay a premium to buy 480p sensors. NTSC/PAL can be generated by downconverting an HD image and software is cheap.

    • by tftp (111690)

      So until the insurance companies start requiring HD dashcams, we might not see them since the demand for them nearly anywhere else is naturally going to be weak.

      My insurance company doesn't require a dashcam; nor it even offers a discount. I doubt that they even know about such cutting edge technology.

      But I purchased one and use it daily. It's an HD dashcam [amazon.com], made in China (of course.) It records for 8 hours of HD onto a 32 GB SD card. I have it permanently plugged in, and it operates automatically.

      I

    • In the UK it's become not uncommon for cyclists to mount go-pro HD cams on their helmets, so they can claim on their opponent's car insurance when they're hit by a vehicle. And to generally make hilarious youtube videos etc.
    • by mjwx (966435)

      The reason why we see so many dash-cam videos of Russia isn't because the Russians like recording their drives because they are so eventful, but rather insurance fraud is such a rampant problem that most insurance companies require them. So until the insurance companies start requiring HD dashcams, we might not see them since the demand for them nearly anywhere else is naturally going to be weak.

      Everyone should get a dash cam because it cuts down on those he said/she said insurance fights. This has the effect of reducing your insurance premiums.

      Of course it's a double edged sword, it will show if an accident is your fault but if you're a good driver you dont need to worry about this. If you're a bad driver, get one anyway because no doubt you've convinced yourself your a good driver and the Dunning-Kruger effect has kicked in (unskilled and unaware of it).

      1080p Camera's have been around for a

  • by bfmorgan (839462) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:07PM (#43938197)
    I mounted the camera in front of the rear view mirror. The pi was in the overhead console with a 12 volt to USB converter supplying power from the overhead light. 64GB SD card allows for a lot of video to be stored. Cost less than $100. I'm sure there are cheaper ways, but this is what I had available.
    • The camera board is a pre-order and not available yet.

  • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:10PM (#43938241)

    Are there any good GPS Nav systems with dashcam functionality? I think Garmin used to make one but can't find it.

    It's such an obvious idea, not sure why we aren't seeing more of such models.

    • A smartphone. Pick a GPS navigation app you like most and start DailyRoads Voyager in the background. I've automated both apps to start when I put my handy in the windscreen mount (via NFC tag in my case, but there are other ways of automation).

  • Crypto? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xtal (49134) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:14PM (#43938317)

    One of the big problems with these devices is no encryption. I don't want to be compelled to bury myself depending on what legal situation one may become involved with.

    I've been looking at homebrewing my own solution for awhile but haven't gotten around to it yet.

    Has anyone solved this problem ?

    • Re:Crypto? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Skater (41976) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:32PM (#43938577) Homepage Journal
      My solution: If I screw up, I have the guts to admit it.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      I've been looking for something like that too and was hoping that one of the Android based head units on the market might have a camera input so I could write/download an app. No such luck unfortunately.

      Some kind of low power ARM board like a Raspberry Pi seems like the best option.

      • Or, how about, you know, an Android phone? Get a cheapo one, they can still record video at VGA or better, and ICS has native encryption support. Plenty of holders exist, as well.
        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          If you keep a phone on your dashboard someone will eventually decide to steal it.

    • by swb (14022)

      Encryption would be nice so would a "panic" sequence that would allow you to wipe the flash (or wipe the keys for the encrypted store).

      Since dash cams are uncommon in the US on civilian vehicles, I wonder if a stealth system would be a better idea. I know it's security through obscurity, but they won't ask for data they don't think you have.

      I'm thinking some kind of camera mounted either externally or unobtrusively with remote electronics/storage.

    • I use my smartphone with DailyRoads warrior app on a windshield mount as a dashcam. If I don't want to tell anyone that a recording was ongoing, I simply won't.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Will there be a "Lose this video" mode?

  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:20PM (#43938409) Homepage Journal

    get hit by a car, destroy its radiator, walk away like a boss.

    If it was a EU bear it would be flopping on the ground like a soccer player.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You don't know if the bear died later. Probably injured. I had a coyote run in front of a car like that... broke its neck, and initially the car looked damaged, but the (plastic) fender popped out and I thought ...well thats not quite so bad... and then (there is a big shock behind the bumper) and it popped out. The signal light was behind the bumper and it was no longer solid, but it couldn't move anywhere, and it still worked. With a different car I hit a Moose. Hood and headlights were OK, but grill

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday June 07, 2013 @01:53PM (#43938799) Journal

      If it was a EU bear it would be flopping on the ground like a soccer player.

      Well, if it were an EU bear, it would qualify for healthcare and a generous period of sick leave, so that behavior would be totally adaptive. It's all about evolving to suit your ecological niche!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 07, 2013 @02:01PM (#43938901)

      If it was a EU bear it would be flopping on the ground like a soccer player.

      If it was a bear from the USA it would wear plastic armor because it can't take contact, use steroids like all pro "athletes" in the country, have fake degrees, organize illegal dog fighting and be too pussy to play a mans' sport like rugby. They'd also need 2 hours of advert breaks in a 60 minute game because they have zero staminal, and have to change players every change of direction of the ball due to them being too stupid to be able to play a flowing game.

    • If it was a EU bear it would be flopping on the ground like a soccer player.

      If it was a bear from Canada, it would stop, spit out a few teeth, then get up, walk over to the car, pull the driver out the drivers side window and then, while holding the drivers shirt with one paw, he'd start beating the driver about the head with his other paw.

  • I think the car got the worst of it.

  • I was under the impression that HD dashcams are actually nothing new, they just tend to cost a bit more (the cheap ones tend to be 640x480 that upscale to 720p and crop the edges off). The really nice ones also include GPS and G-force data (which you can replay in proprietary software), and the really really nice ones either have 2 cameras or a slave camera port so you can film e.g. the inside (think taxis) or the rear view (typically mounted near the license plate).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Small 1080p dash cameras have been in use for years... one of the more popular models with some of performance car community:

    BlackVue [blackvue.com]

  • by Lumpy (12016)

    720p dashcams that cost $40.00 have been all over ebay for well over a year now. News for Nerds, from 2 years ago....

  • by dynamo (6127)

    Wake me up when they have 4k ones.

  • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Friday June 07, 2013 @03:31PM (#43939933) Journal

    This website has nicely laid out specs and reviews of a wide range of dash cams

    http://dashcamtalk.com/dash-cam-comparison/ [dashcamtalk.com]

    • Not so well laid out actually, the comparison table is squished to the left side of the screen, causing the most of text in the table elements to wordwrap single words.
  • I use this 720p Dash Cam [ebay.com] id $70. I prefer dedicated hardware because there isn't much of a secondary market for them like there is for [stolen] cellphones. I've used other, cheaper versions of "high def" cams and they aren't or they frequently require resetting. This one only needed 1 reset in weeks of 24/7 use.

  • sometimes I can watch this stuff for (a very long time).

    hey, where's the "In Soviet Russia..." jokes?

  • I have a 1080p 30 fps dashcam with good low light (not great) that records to SD card. It even has an hdmi out (and came with the mini-hdmi to hdmi cable, which surprised me. And the cable for composite out). It can even be switched to still picture w/flash or video with (somewhat weak) light. It's not an instrumented cam (meaning gps, speed, light indicators) but it was 100$

  • If you are already using your smartphone as a dash-mounted GPS navigator, why not get a cheap wide-angle lens kit and use its rear-facing camera as a dashcam?
    There must be apps for that.

    Or am I missing something here?

    • The app in question is DailyRoads Voyager and it's pretty good. It even records your speed as a subtitle. The wide-angle lens kit is a nice idea, but it will make a smartphone bulkier and give others the idea that a recording might be ongoing which is not always a good thing.

      In my opinion, you can use a smartphone as a dashcam as it is, many youtube videos have no wider angle. It is a very cheap solution for someone who already uses a smartphone as a navigation tool, you might only need a new mount that do

  • www.techmoan.com [techmoan.com] - the guy has done a lot of very good video reviews of cheap dashcams. Well worth a look if you want to see the real quality (downloads of straight-from-the-camera clips) of dashcams before you throw your hard earned money at a Chinese seller.

If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst

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