Dash cams have come a long way from their early days as disconnected, dumb, low-quality video recorders. Now incorporating high-quality dual-lens cameras, 4G wireless, CAN bus integration for vehicle telematics, and even AI accident prevention and driver monitoring features, these increasingly popular devices are becoming far more than the sum of their parts.
Dash cams have been on a long journey. From those bulky early models with low-quality sensors to the smart, connected, slimline versions of today, there has been significant progress. This isn’t just evident in the hardware powering the devices themselves, but also in the telematics, big data, artificial intelligence, cloud, and deep learning technologies that operators are deploying to gain deeper insights into how to improve the safety and efficiency of their fleets.
It is in these behind-the-scenes services that much of the real innovation has been gathering pace, and is increasingly likely to disrupt fleet operators of all sizes. The power of modern AI dash cams stems from the marriage of the hardware with cloud-based applications and services. It is this combination that is already driving impressive growth in adoption. In pure hardware terms, the worldwide dash cam market is expected to grow at a CAGR of roughly 17.3% over the next five years, reaching US$ 5380 million in 2024, according to a recent research report.
While the supporting services are crucial to fleet operators in particular, to a casual observer the hardware improvements of modern dash cams are the most obvious to spot. Stepping back just a handful of years, a typical dash cam sported a VGA-resolution camera, removable storage (such as SD cards to manage video footage), and a small mobile phone-style battery. Fast forward to today and the difference compared to state-of-the-art products such as the VIA Mobile360 D700 AI Dash Cam is stark.
In the case of the VIA Mobile360 D700 AI Dash Cam, it incorporates two Full HD 1080P cameras to capture broadcast-quality footage at up to 50fps – not only of the road ahead of the vehicle, but also of the rear view and cabin interior too. The cameras feature Sony iMX307 CMOS sensors that support HDR, a far cry from earlier, blocky VGA devices. They also include lenses that offer a wide field of view to ensure there are no blind spots.
These specs are a quantum leap from the early days of dash cams, but it is not just about the raw numbers. Dual-lens designs offer significant advantages over basic dash cams, as they mean driver engagement can also be monitored, both negatively (in the event of an accident when the operator is distracted), but also positively (so dozing drivers could be awakened before an accident occurs).
In addition, the high-resolution footage of both the cabin and road ahead is particularly useful in the event of an accident-related dispute and can eliminate fraudulent or fake claims entirely by providing clear and incontrovertible evidence, frame by frame.
Connectivity for the future
Given the high capacity and performance of modern SD cards, it’s no surprise that SD is still the preferred medium of storage in most dash cams. The VIA Mobile360 D700 AI Dash Cam, for example, incorporates an SD slot that supports cards of up to 512GB – ensuring ample capacity for recording a long journey.
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n connectivity means that the footage can be automatically uploaded when the vehicle comes within range of the corporate wireless network, and also provides the opportunity to minimize data costs when carrying out OTA updates.
The device’s support for 4G wireless and GPS, which provides accurate positioning data at all times, makes real-time route tracking and monitoring possible over using a cloud management portal. The ability to adjust and optimize routes, based on live traffic restrictions or accidents, can result in significant cost-savings for fleet operators. Further savings can be achieved by capturing and analyzing vehicle CAN Bus data such as idle time, fuel consumption, speed, and distance traveled.
This information enables fleet managers to make further optimizations, by reducing idle time and improving fuel-consumption through better driver discipline. It also provides a vital safety net, because by setting bespoke event triggers, fleet managers can stay informed of developing situations, such as accidents, and provide proactive responses and solutions, rather than having to wait for a phone call out of the blue to trigger a reactive response.
Indeed, it is this ability to maximize the value of collated data that represents a quantum shift in fleet management operations of all kinds. While it has long been possible to use onboard telematics for basic compliance tracking – e.g. using GPRS and GPS to ensure that the correct driver breaks are being observed (for example, under EU rules all commercial driving must be recorded on a tachograph) – innovations in computer vision, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing are pushing the envelope in enabling new applications and use cases.
Powering new fleet management innovations
The potential gains are enormous, ranging from savings on fuel costs, vehicle wear and tear, maintenance and consumables, in insurance costs and pay-outs from fraudulent claims and to improvements in safety margins, resulting in a better employee work environment.
With their growing ability to capture and process a wealth of relevant data in rich formats for tracking and analysis in the cloud, new AI dash cams like the VIA Mobile360 D700 show that this category of devices has indeed come a long way from its early days and will power myriad new fleet management innovations for boosting vehicle efficiency and safety.
In recent years VIA has garnered extensive feedback from customers operating in the broader Fleet Management sector. This has given us valuable insights that have helped hone our approach to product development. The result is the VIA Mobile360 AI Dash Cam, a full-featured, compact dual-camera device with support for Forward Collision Warning, Rear Collision Warning, and an advanced Driver Monitoring System.
The VIA Mobile360 D700 is AWS IoT Core Qualified and AWS Kinesis Video Streams Qualified. It features an SDK with AWS IoT Core and Amazon KVS live video streaming development and Android /iOS smartphone reference apps, and also comes with a 30-day free trial of the VIA Fleet Cloud Management Portal powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), including 50 hours of live streaming with Amazon KVS.
Learn more about the VIA Mobile360 D700 AI Dash Cam.
You can also check out this short introductory video: