Dash cams: an unexploited resource

Dash cams are useful in a wreck… man are they useful. And they’re pretty useful for getting a few hundred thousand views on YouTube when you capture something crazy happening. But for the most part these spend their lives capturing and overwriting and discarding most of what they observe. Hundreds of hours of data a year just discarded.

Part of this is because to get to the internet the captured video generally requires you to remove an SD card from the dashcam, locate an adapter for your computer, copy over gigabytes of data to your computer, then upload it to YouTube, type a description, etc… then you’ve got to remember to put that SD card back in or the next outing you’ll find yourself in a fender bender with no video evidence.

But what if we changed that slightly? Imagine coming home, parking, and your dash cam starts streaming new video to a computer or storage location. It’s been copied off by the time the next driving session comes around.

Why would I want that?

Imagine that every pothole you passed was reported, where services like Google Maps Street view were constantly up to date, where that car you didn’t even notice with the low tire gets notified they need to check their tires, where a car with an Amber Alert / BOLO is tagged so that police at least know what city/state they’re in, where your driving can be analyzed by an AI far more effectively than those GPS OBD2 linked devices ever could.

Yeah, it could also be used to create a dystopian surveillance nightmare, but I’m pretty sure we’re there already.

Insurance discounts

You’re penalized for speeding, slamming on the brakes, and a variety of things. Many of which you simply must do or become a road obstacle. You’re never given points for not being too close to vehicles in front of you, proper braking and acceleration through corners, driving ability in bad weather.

Things like not hitting a 4yo that jumped out from a sidewalk area, swerving through a wreck in progress, etc. These are things that could be factored in. Real timed reflexes.

Trusting your kids

You can have a GPS, brake monitoring, speed monitoring, etc. If your kid slams on a brake because of a rabbit you’re getting reports of hard stops and not the whole picture.

Do you know if your kid drives differently when they’re alone, or with a friend?

Things that can be monitored if video were more readily available. Imaging getting an alert that tells you you need to tell your kid they have to keep the radio down and stop talking to Angela while in traffic.

Making a more real map

Not that Google Maps hasn’t done a pretty great job with their street view cars, but I quite often find that some of the streets are hilariously out of date. While a 2D dash cam isn’t going to replace a Google Maps vehicle, it can do a pretty decent job of painting surroundings that have changed since the last time a Maps car has driven through.

Long term driving observation

One of the great things with AI is the ability to look at huge sets of data and make predictions. Notifications that the car seems to be starting slower or that you’ve got increased braking distance can be useful… bad gas? Time for a tuneup? Brake job? Eye exam time?

Catches you hitting the brakes in a turn? Coaching time.

The possibilities of personalized mobile observation of your driving habits are pretty great. A bit creepy, but great. The ability to with a press of a button share your info for the betterment of all also could be a pretty cool feature.

Eh, something I was thinking about today to try and distract from the local news.

Right now I think that syncing dash cams are mostly a corporate and police thing. And there’s no AI that I know to monitor and tell you when you need to buck up and realize you’ve become a pretty crappy driver lately.

I’m not sure how popular and what all the potential uses are, but I know there are a bunch that are not being exploited at the moment.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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