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Dashcams Going High-Def, High-Tech

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the good-news-for-meteor-watchers dept.

Technology 93

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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Will it be required? (5, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:Will it be required? (1)

Kkloe (2751395) | about a year ago | (#43938335)

It says there it will be " probably be welcome" by the insurance companies

Re:Will it be required? (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43938385)

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.

Re:Will it be required? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43938959)

Until the old dash cams that most Russians would already have break down (unless these dash cams require proprietary software to extract the video from them, that has "phone home" DRM that can be shut down to force people to buy the new models, although I highly doubt that a dash cam company of all things would go through that kind of trouble).

Re:Will it be required? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43938751)

"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, because it is far more tolerant of long runs without active repeaters than its fancy digital successors), is fairly closely tied to the hardware that cellphones are being built with.

Lower resolution will continue to be cheaper, of course, (and easier on the batteries and the SD card for long recording sessions); but given the massive volume of camera module shipments, and SoC support for those camera modules, even in really lousy phones, I'd imagine that 'HD' will become available, if not necessarily ubiquitous fairly soon, and at a fairly modest premium.

Re:Will it be required? (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#43940675)

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.

Re:Will it be required? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940757)

I work for a company that supplies automotive cameras. Most vehicles that have rear view cameras use standard NTSC video. In most cars, the screen is small enough that going to some kind of HD video just doesn't make sense.

Re:Will it be required? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940877)

Good thing we're not talking about rear view cameras, then.

Re:Will it be required? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43942161)

These cameras are already here. Power Acoustik among others has a unit that mounts between the windshield and the rear view mirror. They also do lane departure and monitoring with a SD card that works like a DVR. Most car stereo shops can get them but there has been very little consumer demand for them

Re:Will it be required? (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#43942221)

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 understand that in case of an accident it could be useful. But the primary purpose of the camera, for me, is to just record whatever happens around, for any reason. If I want the recording, it's there. If I don't want it, no problem - it will be overwritten in 8 hours. So if a UFO, or a bear, suddenly shows in front of my car, I don't need to do anything special to record it. I saw pheasants in the road, chickens, deer, turkeys, pigs... Sometimes you just want to understand what turns you took to get somewhere.

Re:Will it be required? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43951465)

Been wanting to get myself one for long, but never understood why most of the dash cams have such horrible user ratings on Amazon!

Re:Will it be required? (1)

infolation (840436) | about a year ago | (#43943259)

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.

Re:Will it be required? (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#43957037)

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 while, cheap (sub US$150) 1080p cameras have been available for a year, most have been Chinese copies so this has filtered through to name brands (who are just buying the Chinese made cameras and branding them), to be honest the Chinese copy cameras aren't that bad.

I think you'll find the market for dashcam's increasing as they do work in most drivers favour. Especially as drivers become lazier, stupider and more complacent (automatics and driver assist technologies have pretty much made people forget how to drive properly, few drivers know what to do when aquaplaning or recover when they lose the back wheels, most cant even drive a manual to save their life). They also let you make awesome track videos without having to drop $300+ on a GoPro. My $80 camera paid off for me, a Mum-Tank (SUV) crashed into the side my old Honda Civic (he drifted out of his lane). When the cops got there he started a huge tirade about "fucking P-Platers" and claiming I pulled in front of him. I let him finish his rant and said quietly "Officer, I have a dashcam" and pointed to the box in front of my rear view mirror. The SUV drivers jaw dropped. Needless to say he changed his tune now he knew I had footage, paid for the repairs to my Civic and got a nice dangerous driving fine to boot thanks to the footage of me going perfectly straight.

Since then, I've bought a better dashcam that you can actually read number plates on. DOD GSE550, excelent day footage although the night footage leaves a little to be desired.

Raspberry Pi with camera (3, Interesting)

bfmorgan (839462) | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:Raspberry Pi with camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43938259)

I got a pi for that same reason, but I've yet to come up to put together a camera and software.. Did you use something off the shelf of you wrote something yourself? Any parts manifest would be a good idea.

Re:Raspberry Pi with camera (5, Informative)

bfmorgan (839462) | about a year ago | (#43938547)

The 12 volt to USB was just one I had laying around the parts box. The camera was from http://www.element14.com/community/groups/raspberry-pi-accessories [element14.com] The 64 GB card was bought at Costco. The instructions that I leveraged were from the installation instructions for the pi camera at http://www.element14.com/community/docs/DOC-54359?ICID=rasp-accessory-group [element14.com] I added a few scripts to manage the startup and storage of the video. When the unit powers up (when I start the car) it starts. When I shut the car down I press a button before shutting the car down that stops the recording and stores the video file and shutdowns the pi. Each time I run this in the car I have to park the car in the garage and transfer via wifi and ssh the video files. Its a hack at this point, but some of the video management stuff can be made better. The pi camera doesn't like the dark, but there are ways to make the pi camera IR sensitive by doing a little bit of surgery to remove the IR filter. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm sure that several others may be offering this version of the camera soon. Hope this helps,

Re:Raspberry Pi with camera (2)

g1zmo (315166) | about a year ago | (#43940765)

WhoTF leverages instructions? What botfly with an MBA has crawled into your brain and taken over your speech center?

Re:Raspberry Pi with camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43944111)

one eyebrow slowly raised in sync while reading "shut the car down".

Re:Raspberry Pi with camera (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#43948013)

A little bit of circuitry could be made to power the Pi off a supercap for a couple of seconds.
That means you can detect the loss of 12v and save the files automatically.

No you didn't (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year ago | (#43943337)

The camera board is a pre-order and not available yet.

WOW! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43938239)

Holy cow! Hi-Def?? Really? That's amazing!

Seriously, why is this "news"?

Re:WOW! (2)

ChumpusRex2003 (726306) | about a year ago | (#43938617)

Indeed. I have had a 1080p 30fps dash cam with wide-angle lens, sound, GPS, accelerometers, etc. with sophisticated recording management for nearly 18 months.

In the last 12 months, cameras with wifi, android/ios apps, to view and manage video/records/configuration while the camera is still operating (e.g. following a collision, the video of teh incident can be shown to an attending police officer, without the need to switch off the camera and install the memory card in a reader) are now standard fayre - available off the shelf.

Re:WOW! (3, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43938927)

The most important feature is "parking mode". The camera goes into low power mode when the car is stopped and turned off, but starts recording again if there is any motion. That way if anyone hits your parked car and drives off the event is captured. Battery life only needs to be a few hours while you are shopping, and you can have CCTV at home.

Hopefully prices and sizes will come down to the point where you can have front, rear and side cameras to cover all impacts. Some bint hit my parked car a few months ago from the side but luckily I was in it at the time and took some photos. Her insurance is refusing to pay because she didn't own the car and thus wasn't insured on it, so mine is now suing her... If I hadn't been there video evidence would be all I had.

Re:WOW! (1)

DarthBart (640519) | about a year ago | (#43939403)

What the dashcam world needs is this:

I envision a dash cam system that has two modes:

Normal operation is "record to disk" and then you can recover the video later off the disk.
Panic operation is "Dump recorded data to an 'offsite' server over high speed cellular data as well as start streaming current video to same server".

That means you've got your day to day stuff recorded, but in the event you get pulled over by an asshole cop who decided to swipe the memory card out of your dash cam after he pulls you out of your car and tasers you for resisting arrest.

Re:WOW! (1)

Erikderzweite (1146485) | about a year ago | (#43944801)

I think that DailyRoads app has the ability to do so. Besides, it's a smartphone mounted on a windscreen mount with recording going on in the background and a navigation app in the foreground. Few will suspect ongoing recording.

Re:WOW! (0)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43939519)

> I have had a 1080p 30fps dash cam with wide-angle lens, sound...

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you can see where the fraudulent accident "victim" deliberately heaves himself onto the hood. Listen to the thump, which is also incredibly soft. Listen carefully and try to ignore the foreground audio where the driver is singing along "I just met you, this is crazy, JLaw, feed me your pussy maybe..."

Re:WOW! (1)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year ago | (#43939599)

Or, was there a flurry of honking that was ignored? Sound does contain a lot of useful information.

Re:WOW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940289)

In what circumstance would honking change who is at fault? Deaf people are allowed to drive.

What about a GPS Nav system with a dashcam? (3, Interesting)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:What about a GPS Nav system with a dashcam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43938461)

I think you are looking in the wrong direction. Look at the Contour+2 or ContourROAM cameras. HD capability with internal GPS as well. Motorcycle mounts, helmet mounts and yes windshield mounts available. Designed more for exterior shots from a motorcycle, bicycle, or even underwater to 10 feet or so.

Re:What about a GPS Nav system with a dashcam? (2)

serbanp (139486) | about a year ago | (#43939105)

unfortunately, the Contour has very, very crappy low-light performance. Oh, and it does not work when charging, which means that you have to rely on its battery. Not a dashcam by any means.

Re:What about a GPS Nav system with a dashcam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940563)

The replay xd doesn't have GPS, but has a similar form factor to the Contour. I've got one mounted to my motorcycle, and with a 12v plug it runs as long as my bike does, or until the memory card runs out...

Re:What about a GPS Nav system with a dashcam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43939337)

Are there any good GPS Nav systems with dashcam functionality?

So at least your GPS can watch the road while you are watching your GPS instead?

Re:What about a GPS Nav system with a dashcam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43939601)

Garmin does make a unit with an attachable dash cam, although it is not sold globally.

http://www.garmin.com.sg/products/ontheroad/gdr35/

Re:What about a GPS Nav system with a dashcam? (1)

Erikderzweite (1146485) | about a year ago | (#43944821)

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).

Get off the road! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43938275)

OK, the bear lived; but your radiator is shot. Pull the fuck off the highway, dumbass. No wonder they have so many fatalities. Where do these guys get their licenses. Yeah, the shoulder is muddy. You're getting towed anyway, so that's not an issue. Get off the damned highway.

Re:Get off the road! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43938481)

OK, the bear lived; but your radiator is shot. Pull the fuck off the highway, dumbass. No wonder they have so many fatalities. Where do these guys get their licenses. Yeah, the shoulder is muddy. You're getting towed anyway, so that's not an issue. Get off the damned highway.

what the fuck are you rambling about? the car is on the side of the road. it's not like he wants to push it into the soft area by the road, that would just be stupid. the right thing is to take the warning triangle and go put it far enough.

in all reality I doubt he stayed there waiting for the tow, he was going to get towed if he was lucky. there's a hurt bear nearby anyhow so might just as well limp it somewhere else if the car moves.

anyhow, I'm sure that if your car gets hit by a bear you'll IMMEDIATELY park your car into knee deep mud.

Re:Get off the road! (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#43938529)

"Where do these guys get their licenses"

I would guess Russia. Home of vodka, the AK-47, the Crazy Ivan and, if EA is to be believed, parachuting attack bears.

Crypto? (2, Interesting)

xtal (49134) | about a year ago | (#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? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43938431)

Just use a small laptop. Record from the camera (usb type) onto the laptop. Use Truecrypt to encrypt the laptop. If there is an issue you can reboot / power off the laptop.

Re:Crypto? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43938525)

May you elaborate on the legal situations ? I don't get it..

Re:Crypto? (3, Insightful)

mattiaza (2567891) | about a year ago | (#43938779)

He wants to hide the evidence if he was at fault in an accident.

Re:Crypto? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43939457)

I don't think of it as hiding as much as not testifying against one's self. The fact that there is a dash cam present is not the secret, nor are the contents of the dash cam; however the decryption key would be and (in recent news) one may or may not have to divulge a key from memory.

Re:Crypto? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43939615)

Or not incriminate himself? WHICH IS WHAT THE GODDAMNED 5TH AMENDMENT IS FOR

Re:Crypto? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43941185)

Or not incriminate himself? WHICH IS WHAT THE GODDAMNED 5TH AMENDMENT IS FOR

It's Russia, what fucking fifth amendment? Come to think of it, lately you could say the same about America.

This also applies: http://xkcd.com/538/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Crypto? (1)

xtal (49134) | about a year ago | (#43941915)

..I'm Canadian. ;)

Re:Crypto? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43939699)

The dash cam may only show part of the story. I want to see the footage first to decide if I want to use it.

Re:Crypto? (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#43940641)

Or not be ordered to hand over the camera after filming Rodney King Jr. getting worked over by the LAPD.

Re:Crypto? (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43941503)

Not necessarily. Sometimes it can make you look at fault even if you are not, and so it is in your interest to control access to it. You have a right not to testify against yourself.

Re:Crypto? (4, Insightful)

Skater (41976) | about a year ago | (#43938577)

My solution: If I screw up, I have the guts to admit it.

Re:Crypto? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43940367)

Your solution is naive and simplistic, and a poor fit in general to a wide variety of real-world scenarios that you obviously haven't (yet) contemplated.

Re:Crypto? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43938953)

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.

Re:Crypto? (1)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | about a year ago | (#43939233)

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.

Re:Crypto? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43939911)

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

Re:Crypto? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43941047)

Because they clearly aren't designed to be pocketable and portable devices you can take with you.

Re:Crypto? (1)

swb (14022) | about a year ago | (#43939921)

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.

Re:Crypto? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43977583)

Older car with a hood ornament has the perfect position for an unobtrusive camera. Buick Bullseye... maybe one of the Olds 'rocket' types.

Re:Crypto? (1)

Erikderzweite (1146485) | about a year ago | (#43944829)

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.

Welcomed by Law Enforcement (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43938353)

Will there be a "Lose this video" mode?

They already are HD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43938371)

There are some great cheap dashcams becoming available that can record in 720/1080p out of the box. I picked up an HDVR-150 off Amazon a few months ago with a 32 GB SD Class 4 card. It keeps the last 3 hours of video and auto deletes the oldest videos to make room for the newer. It clips right on your rear view mirror.

I got it after being accused of running a red light, when in fact it had just turned yellow and I never even saw it red. I dunno what the cop saw, but I didn't run through anything close to a red light.

In Russia even the bears are bad-ass (4, Funny)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#43938409)

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:In Russia even the bears are bad-ass (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43938693)

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, bumper and right passenger side fender got creamed. When the bumper hit, the airbags went off, which took out the windshield. Luckily the beast tripped and I mostly went over top of it (somehow I had managed to slow down from 100 km/h to about 50 km/h). I drove the car home, but someone behind me had a cell phone with camera and they called the cops, and also gave me their number for the insurance company (they also told the cops what they saw). The moose died, and a tow truck picked it up off the road (they said between 750-800 pounds). They wanted it off the road right away as a semi trailer truck went over part of it and nearly flipped.

Re:In Russia even the bears are bad-ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43938785)

I hit a Canadian goose once square in the head with my front bumper. It's wings were going at humming bird speed when it realized it had stepped in front of me. I was sure I killed it, but by the time I made a u-turn and came back, it was gone.

Re:In Russia even the bears are bad-ass (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43938799)

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!

Re:In Russia even the bears are bad-ass (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:In Russia even the bears are bad-ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43939171)

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.

And it would suffer traumatic brain injury and be a rage-prone vegetable by middle age, at which point it would commit suicide.

The league would euologize it as a hero to all bears.

Re:In Russia even the bears are bad-ass (2)

SoTerrified (660807) | about a year ago | (#43939995)

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.

The bear did quite the breakdance on that hood (1)

schwit1 (797399) | about a year ago | (#43938445)

I think the car got the worst of it.

New, or just 'more affordable'? (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about a year ago | (#43938537)

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).

Re:New, or just 'more affordable'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43938639)

HD Dash Cams have been around for a few years. I have one on my car and a co-worker has one on his car.

Re:New, or just 'more affordable'? (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | about a year ago | (#43944031)

HD dashcams? Nothing new. 60fps HD dashcams? New. Very, very new.

The cameras have been around for years, but up until ~18 months ago, low-cost ASICs capable of realtime h.264/mpeg-4 encoding at 720p60 just didn't exist... and flash was so expensive, nobody (AFAIK) even *bothered* to try making MPEG-2 realtime-encoder ASICs capable of 720p60, because you would have ended up with a $200 device capable of recording 10-20 minutes of video.

That said... if you look up the datasheets for the image sensors for sub-$100 720p60 dashcams, they don't have anywhere CLOSE to 1280x720 of real resolution. It's more like 540 rows of 640 green subpixel sensors, flanked by another 540 alternating rows of 640 red or blue sensors that get interpolated into a 1280x720 framebuffer for encoding as nominal 720p60. Maybe... MAYBE... 800 alternating rows of 700-1200 subpixels, giving them some headroom to implement deshaking and pretend they can do 1080p30 at anywhere close to 1920x1080.

Nothing new (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43938611)

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]

Dashcams for traffic study? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43938833)

There's been more than a few times I wish I had the video to demonstrate poor timing of traffic signals. Add GPS content into each frame and you can get a lot of information that could be used to improve traffic flow.

dashcam plus google synch == more stuff for NSA (1)

vpness (921181) | about a year ago | (#43938933)

once on my smartphone, it's in the cloud. Think about this, the NSA can now crowd source finding a license plate or a person just from all the networked smartphones being used as dashcams. Thrown in a little GPS and facial / pattern recognition, and you have 'insta find'. Cheaper than keeping all those drones up in the air too.

Already on market for a while (1)

chipperdog (169552) | about a year ago | (#43939085)

HD won't improve the picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43939251)

if the camera is out of focus like in the video with the bear.
It looks like the timestamp has been added by some OLED screen or semi transparent mirror in front of the camera that forced them to not set the focus to infinity.

HUH? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#43939301)

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

Miracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43939451)

A story about something DIY on Slashdot that has no references to Arduino or Raspberry Pi? How it is possible?

big deal (1)

dynamo (6127) | about a year ago | (#43939923)

Wake me up when they have 4k ones.

Nice dash cam camera review site (2)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | about a year ago | (#43939933)

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

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

Re:Nice dash cam camera review site (1)

hack slash (1064002) | about a year ago | (#43941767)

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.

Re:Nice dash cam camera review site (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | about a year ago | (#44008957)

Hmmm, I'm not seeing that

Re:Nice dash cam camera review site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43970023)

I got my dashcam from a Canadian website that specializes in them. I only paid $129 and it is one of the best purchases I have ever made on the web. It has two cameras, one films the front of the vehicle and one films the interior/back , it is like having two gopro cams in one, they are full 720p both of them. Unlike the cheap one I ordered on ebay for $60 and it came shipped from China (which took weeks to get to me) this Canadian site sent me my order direct from their warehouse and it arrived the same week I placed the order. The website is http://dashcamdiaries.com

$70 high def, doog quality (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about a year ago | (#43939963)

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.

Re:$70 high def, doog quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43941581)

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.

I actually use this same camera. I am happy with it. The quality is good enough..

huge time pit these Russian dash cams (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about a year ago | (#43940107)

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

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

In Soviet Russia... (1)

trailerparkcassanova (469342) | about a year ago | (#43940227)

bear hits YOU!!!

Re:huge time pit these Russian dash cams (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43951641)

Soviet Russia is 22 years in the past.

But in Soviet Russia that bear would be an KGB officer in a disguise

Odd.. (1)

Copperhamster (1031604) | about a year ago | (#43940191)

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$

Why not just use your smartphone? (1)

alexo (9335) | about a year ago | (#43941011)

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?

Re:Why not just use your smartphone? (1)

Erikderzweite (1146485) | about a year ago | (#43944861)

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 does not obscure the camera if any. And such a setup will help to clarify many issues.

Reviews of cheap dashcams (1)

hack slash (1064002) | about a year ago | (#43941721)

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.
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