There are dashcams and then there are ‘Ring Video Doorbell’ type dashcams that let you peer in and around your car from your phone at any time, using a 4G connection.
Suppliers Directed, Harman and Thinkware are planning to offer such 4G dashcams this year, joining Waylens, who was first out of the gate with the product among 12 volt suppliers last year. (Additionally, startups such as Owl and Raven offered the 4G dashcams through mass merchant and online channels last year).
Harman’s new dashcam (top photo), simply called ‘dash’, is expected to ship in Q2, and is aimed at both retail and OEM. Harman said it will be offered to 12 volt retailers. It has a forward facing camera and rear facing lens that lets you see the driver and rear passengers. Like other 4G/WiFi cameras it allows users to check in on their car in real time from a smartphone with a live view of the car. And users can view video footage on their smartphone. The dash also offers ADAS features such as forward collision warning, lane detection and distracted driver monitoring.
Harman expects to offer a service plan through AT&T and/or Sprint. No price on ‘dash’ is currently available.
With Thinkware’s new 4G dashcam, model T700, users are notified of an impact when the car is parked so they can peak into the car in real time by smartphone. They can also access recorded footage of the event from the phone over a WiFi connection between the phone and T700.
It comes with driver safety features including forward collision warning, front vehicle motion alert, and lane departure warning.
The T700 has an SOS button that saves 5-seconds prior and after the press and sends it to an emergency contact who may view it, along with GPS information. The emergency contact can then choose to call 911 if necessary. If there’s an impact to the vehicle, the dashcam will again automatically send an alert message to the emergency contact.
Shipping and pricing information was not available.
An alternate version of Thinkware’s dashcam is the X700, which has a 2.7-inch touch screen. It has the same features as the T700, but upon impact instead of video, you get 3 live photos sent to your phone. Instead of the typical 4G LTE network, it uses a limited protocol (LTE Cat M1) that only allows you to send small data packages. The photo shots use less data and so there’s lower service charges.
The X700 supports a second camera for the rear and it records in Full HD quality. It uses a 2.13MP Sony STARVIS front camera with a wide angle lens and night vision. Thinkware is expected to test market the product in the future at a price to be announced.
As we noted during CES, Directed will offer in May its Viper SMARTVIEW dashcam system at $449.
It has dual cameras including a rear facing 130-degree camera that shows the driver, and passengers, and the sides of the car so that you could view someone smashing a window.
The SMARTVIEW can be used as a standalone device or connected to a DS4 via Bluetooth. When connected to a DS4, the user is notified of an impact or other event. He also gets control of the car via smartphone for remote start and remote door lock/unlock. See more on SMARTVIEW here.