In the past two decades, the ubiquity of dash cams used in vehicles across the world has born a new genre of cinema – the crazy dash cam video. From marvelous meteors to daft drivers, they are always certain to entertain. Thanks to these recording devices installed on windshields and dashboards in millions of vehicles around the globe, we can now enjoy thousands of hours of outrageous close calls, exemplars of bad driving, and crashes that would give Michael Bay a run for his money – posted, shared, and liked across the internet.
While it’s clear from these videos that dash cams are great at capturing events outside (and sometimes within) vehicles, recent developments have given us a new breed of pro dash cams which deliver powerful features that go beyond merely recording footage. Many accidents involving negligent or distracted drivers could have been avoided if a pro dash cam like the VIA Mobile360 D700 had been installed. Here are the top five examples.
5. Paying Attention to the Wrong Kind of Space
This first clip comes from December 2017. Elon Musk’s enterprising SpaceX launched their Falcon 9, providing an extraordinary view for the residents of Los Angeles to enjoy. Akin to something that you might see in a science-fiction film, the rocket could be observed painting a dazzling bright streak across the twilight sky, a true marvel of human engineering.
From the dash cam of a vehicle traveling along a stretch of busy freeway, we hear a driver and his passengers admiring the spectacle. However, around the 1:12 mark, a driver in the right-hand lane has clearly been overly star-struck by the unfolding events, consequently smashing into the back of a white car immediately in front of them.
Indifferent to any man-made phenomena, the best passenger the driver could have had was AI. With its Forward Collision Warning (FCW), the VIA Mobile360 D700 AI Dash Cam would have alerted the driver if they got too close to the car in front and a collision was imminent. With its AI-powered Driver Monitoring System (DMS), the D700 could also have provided an audible warning in the event that the driver was distracted, be that by their mobile phone, a cigarette, or a space mission.
4. “Do you know where the candle supply is?”
This footage begins innocently enough, with two people driving around a narrow road, looking for what is later revealed to be a candle supply shop. They, like everyone from time to time, seem to be confused as to how to find their destination.
Unfortunately, as they make a turn, they suddenly fall into a loading dock, well disguised from their perspective due to the shallow incline of the road and the water reflecting the color of the road pooled at the bottom.
If a VIA Mobile360 D700 AI Dash Cam integrated into a cloud fleet management portal had been installed, they would not have been in this kind of situation in the first place. With seamless edge to cloud integration, allowing both the vehicle’s global position and a video stream to be accessed remotely, the fleet management portal could have alerted them of the hazard in time to stop them from falling into it or directed theme to take an alternative route. One can only hope that this unfortunate pair at least found the candle supply they were looking for, even if they were drenched to the skin when they were finally able to make their purchase.
3. “Hello, police? There’s idiots”
Nowadays, insurance fraud is commonplace, seen as a way to make easy money. In the UK, where this next video is from, 55.8% of all fraudulent insurance claims in 2019 were motor insurance claims. In this particular instance, we can see footage from a car’s dash cam, where one of the perpetrators merges into the road with his scooter before running backwards and smashing into the stationary car. He then proceeds to fling himself dramatically onto the bonnet, before rolling off limply and clutching his back.
The fraudster’s plan is simple. Make it look like the innocent driver has caused an injury through negligent driving, forcing her to pay a substantial amount through insurance. Cementing their claim further, a co-perpetrator approaches the scene to start recording the moment just after the ‘collision.’ The woman involved is in disbelief, and points out her camera to the pair who then immediately scarper in different directions, resembling something of a clown act.
While clearly shaken, the woman has been saved a lot of money and grief simply by taking the precaution of owning a dash cam. However, what if the footage was damaged or the camera stolen by the pair of incompetent grifters? To remedy that, the D700 has both local storage (up to 512GB capacity), and cloud connectivity, meaning footage can be uploaded and stored in the safety of the cloud.
2. Sleeping at the Wheel
Some say that the most comfortable place to sleep is in space (the some being astronauts), and it is hard to disagree. The feeling of complete weightlessness is the Holy Grail for mattress manufacturers, so space, it seems, is ideal. When it comes to more terrestrial matters, however, there is more wiggle room for debate.
At a glance, the interior of a truck cabin does not seem like the height of comfort, especially if you have the money to splash out on something like a waterbed instead. However, picture this: you’re cruising down an empty highway in your semi-truck, with a warm midday sun beating down on your relaxed, semi-reclined body. It’s been a long haul, so why not rest your eyes a few seconds? Perhaps the vibrations of the engine resemble the gentle swaying of a hammock at the beach, with the interior air conditioning providing a smooth cool ocean breeze.
To snap you back to reality, the National Safety Council reports that every year about 100,000 police-reported crashes involve drowsy driving, causing more than 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries (and the real figure could be much higher). This next video provides good insight as to what can go wrong when overly fatigued drivers get behind the wheel.
The VIA Mobile360 D700 AI Dash Cam has built-in AI-powered DMS features that can detect and warn of tired or distracted driving, and also features Lane Departure Warnings (LDW). This would have been extremely useful to the driver in the video above, providing an audio alarm for when the vehicle veers out of their lane. Trucks can be good places to nap, just make sure you are pulled over in a safe place, preferably with the engine turned off. Lives are worth more than quotas.
1. The Idiot’s Lantern
The phrase “glued to the screen” is perhaps one of the most adaptable yet consistent metaphors ever used. From the first television sets to the latest mobile phones, nothing else has proved better to describe people’s uncanny addiction to these machines. For several generations, we have flocked to screens the way moths are drawn to light. Consequently, this provides a distraction to our daily lives, be that in a good or bad way. Although when it comes to driving, there is little justification.
This video shows what can happen when a driver is distracted by his mobile phone. The Police has determined that the 30 year old man had been using his phone for at least 1.5 kilometers, before smashing into a buildup of traffic in front of him, injuring two.
In 2015 alone, in the US, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. The VIA Mobile360 D700 AI Dash Cam DMS can detect if a driver uses their phone, along with other unsafe practices, such as fatigued driving and smoking, and deliver an actionable warning.
As we can see from this list of unfortunate road mishaps, we should never take safety for granted while driving a vehicle. While dash cams that record road conditions offer us evidence of accidents, it’s now possible to integrate pro dash cams like the D700 that not only record, but also give us a leg up in safe driving.
There is clearly no shortage of crazy dash cam videos proliferating across the internet, and this remains a constant as human error is often the contributing factor. It is comforting, however, to know that new technology can make a difference in keeping us safer.
Written by Daniel Swift, AI Development and Marketing Intern at VIA Technologies, Inc., and undergraduate Computer Science student at Aberystwyth University.