Dash Cam

Dash Cam

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Not terribly long ago I was headed to lunch.  Pulling into the parking lot I was met by a lady screaming out of the parking lot in “hot pursuit!”  She was flying out of the middle of the entrance to the parking lot!

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The driver was a Dallas Cop who had setup her “speed trap” in the parking lot of a busy restaurant in Addison Texas.  Evidently someone went a couple miles over the limit and she was going to stop them and protect us all from someone going 40 in a 35!

Tracy Jones, K. Beth Burnside, Mia Shagena, Sarah Ramsey, Melissa Person
Tracy Jones, K. Beth Burnside, Mia Shagena, Sarah Ramsey, Melissa Person

Had I not stabbed on the brakes, we would have had a head on.

You see, when you leave a parking lot headed for a main road there is this “stop sign” either painted on the road or standing there or assumed.  Even if they don’t have one, you should stop and look both ways before screaming out of the parking lot!  The drivers license manual even tells you to stop, use your turn signal and then proceed when clear.  No where does it say if “you are a cop it is OK to go blasting out of a parking lot without looking, stopping, using a turn signal etc!  Stop hiding in parking lots!   Had she not been blasting out of the parking lot she would have most likely been to the right of the entrance and we could have avoided one another.   She was in HOT PURSUIT! 

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The wreck was narrowly avoided but, had we collided who would have been at fault?  Let me re-phrase that, who would have been blamed?!  Do I trust the police???  I would rather not have to.  We have seen too many times where if there is a possible way to cover your ass, these guys are good at it!

She would have hit me left front.  I was traveling between 5 and 10 mph, no telling what she was doing, as she was flying!

Without dash cam footage, we would have to depend upon forensics and “he said she said” and she is a cop.  Had there been a wreck we would have had to call the “cops.”  Do you think for a minute that they would have sided with me?  Even with the overwhelming preponderance of forensic evidence that would have been there, I can hardly think that it would have ended well for me.  Maybe I am jaded but I have been around a long time, you don’t screw with cops!  They are innocent until proven guilty, and you are guilty until proven innocent; which with cops, your evidence may never see the light of day.  Just saying….

Would she have said, “Oh, I screwed up” and accepted the blame, or would she have somehow blamed me.

She has more to lose than I do.  Her job could be in jeopardy where, I would have simply had a wreck on my record.

Dash Cameras take the mist out of mystery.

Dash cameras in theory are supposed to record in 3 minute increments, a loop of events.

When the car is running the camera is running and not only does it get video but, it also serves as a “cockpit recorder.”  That is right, your voice or radio are recorded for posterity.  If there is no event within that three minute window, that section of “tape” goes into the queue to be recorded over.

If there is an event, there is a “g” sensor in the camera that acts as a mechanism to flag that section of tape(1) as nonvolatile or protected thus, ignored in the subsequent record process.  You can also activate that process by pushing a button telling the machine to save the last 3 minutes of tape.

Problems

  • The button to control that function needs to be easily pushed as we don’t want to cause an accident by saving the tape sequence that is important.  “Someone does something incredibly stupid and you want to upload it to YouTube!”
  • Two cameras that I have tested thus far put out copious amounts of RF that “swamp” the GPS as well as the Satellite radio.
  • The camera plugs into the cigarette lighter socket or 12v power source and starts shortly after voltage is applied.  Problem, those outlets are “hot: when the key is off so there needs to be another form of activation.  Not all cars are like this but mine is.

If I were designing the perfect dash camera, I would tie it to GPS and have it actually encode the coordinates into the data stream.  Along with the coordinates, I would encode speed.  I would make the camera function dependent upon movement either of the vehicle and I would look for movement within the cabin.  If someone gets into the car, the camera starts recording.

I would include a rear facing camera as not all accidents happen from the front of the car.

I would tie the camera into the Automobiles security system so if the shock sensor or other sensor is activated, it starts recording.

If it were a commercial vehicle I would tie it onto the on board computer to let me know if the lights were on, were the brakes hit, was the turn signal activated, What was the RPM of the engine, was it going up or down, what was the speed of the vehicle?

I would also offer a version of the camera that incorporated cellular technology that actually sent a data stream up to the cloud for later retrieval.  I would do this on all commercial vehicles so at any point in time the person responsible for them could go to a web site and see were their vehicle is, what it is doing and possible retrieve other information like the status of the vehicle.

The creator of such a camera could offer “cloud storage” as part of a complete package, thus not simply selling a device, but a service with a constant revenue stream that goes into perpetuity.

The RFI issues need to be resolved as we have come to rely on GPS as an everyday thing, much like road signs.

Shielding the camera to contain the RFI needs to be looked at, in the factory.

What is generating RFI in the GHZ range?  Is it the on-board processor? Can it be shielded?

This is not rocket science, it is simply best practice engineering.

-Best

© All rights reserved 2015

(1) Tape is simply used here as  vernacular that the public would easily understand.  There is in fact no more tape, as everything is recorded digitally.  The storage in most cameras are some form of memory card.

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