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Groundbreaking Dash Cam Features to Look Forward to in 2023

Dash cams have come a long way in recent years, offering new and improved features to enhance road safety and make driving more convenient.

Nowadays, offering excellent 4K UHD video quality is not enough. The demand for dash cams with higher-resolution footage, improved performance, and sleeker designs continue to increase as dash cam becomes more popular.

With dash cam marketing becoming more competitive, do established brands like Thinkware, BlackVue, VIOFO, and Nextbase have what it takes to continue to dominate, or can we expect groundbreaking features from other emerging brands?

We recently sat down with Vortex Radar to discuss some of the latest dash cam features that could change the dash cam landscape in 2023.

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Telephoto Lenses

The most pressing question in the dash cam community remains the ability of a dash cam to capture license plate details. Linus Tech Tip made a video complaining about the low-quality video in Summer 2022. The video has received over 6 million views, and everyone from the dash community is talking about it on YouTube, Reddit, and DashCamTalk forums.

We agreed that almost all dash cams on the market could use some improvements on fine details and freeze frames. But because of the wide-angle lenses, dash cams are not designed to capture small details such as faces or license plates. You need a camera with a narrow field of view, long focal length, and high magnification to capture super fine details like license plates of cars near or far.

With the demand for clear recordings of minute details on the rise, some manufacturers have added a telephoto lens so users can zoom in on minute details. One such manufacturer is Cansonic with the Ultra Dash Z3. While the idea is groundbreaking in theory, it fails to meet expectations from a real-world application standpoint. For instance, telephoto lenses tend to suffer from image distortion, chromatic aberrations, and other optical flaws, resulting in lower overall image quality. Additional exposure, shutter speed, and other hardware and software optimizations are needed to capture fine details.

Automated Video Backup

Thanks to the integration of cloud technology and IOAT, modern dash cams can automatically transfer and store video files in a centralized cloud storage space. But automatic video backup via Cloud only works for incident footage. In other words, normal driving footage stays on the microSD card until you transfer it to your phone via the smartphone app or your computer by physically inserting the microSD card into your computer.

But what if there is a way to automatically offload all the footage clips from your microSD card to your phone or, better yet, a designated hard drive? Vortex Radar uses a special Windows software that pulls all his dash cam footage onto his computer as soon as he gets home. Up for a challenge? A Synology NAS with a shell script would do the trick. While this could be a little overkill for the individual dash cam owner, it is a practical cost-cutting solution for fleet owners who manages a larger fleet.

AI-Powered Dash Cams

AI-powered dash cams use simple image recognition algorithms to detect and record accidents. Over time, the AI capabilities of dash cams have improved. They now offer advanced features such as license plate recognition, driver assistance, and real-time video analysis. The popularity of dash cams and the growth of the AI industry have driven the development of advanced and sophisticated AI-powered dash cams like the FineVu GX1000. FineVu GX1000 is currently the smartest parking mode dash cam, thanks to AI Damage Detection and Temperature Monitoring features.

Dash cam Alternatives: GoPro and Smartphone

GoPros have long been considered unsuitable for use as dash cams due to missing essential features like auto start/stop recording with ignition. However, with GoPro Labs, introduced in 2020, the original GoPro can now serve as a dash cam alternative, with features like automatic ON/OFF, motion detection parking recording, and GPS tagging on videos.

Like using a GoPro as a dash cam, many people have resorted to repurposing old smartphones as dash cams, thanks to the apps like Autoboy, Drive Recorder, and Driver. These apps essentially add dash cam functionality to your smartphone while using the smartphone’s camera to record high-resolution video footage.

Although it may take some time for GoPro and smartphones to replace dash cams fully, the advancements of GoPro Labs and dash cam apps indicate that it is only a matter of time before this becomes a reality.

High-Capacity, Multichannel TeslaCam

Why install a two or 3-Channel dash cam when it already comes with eight built-in cameras? While Tesla’s Sentry mode only activates four of the eight cameras in your Tesla, it’s already more than what you’d get from a dual or triple-channel system. But there’s a catch.

The TeslaCam’s video resolution is limited to HD, half that of Full HD or a quarter of 2K QHD. In other words, the Tesla Cam records at a significantly lower resolution when compared with the majority of dash cams on the market. At this resolution, a license plate can only be read when the car in front is about 8 feet or less in front of you, which brings us back to the problem of license plate readability.

But there are aspects of the Tesla Cam that other dash cam manufacturers should take notice of - one of which is the impressive storage capacity - connecting a 2TB hard drive to a Tesla allows for ample storage of vehicle footage. We may see more high-capacity dash cams in the future - we are already seeing manufactures like FineVu incorporate innovative features, such as Smart Time Lapse Recording, to maximize storage efficiency.

Build-Your-Own Systems with Multi-channel Cameras

Drivers of rideshare services, such as Uber and Lyft, understand that more than just front and back cameras are required. While conventional two-channel dashcams provide decent coverage, essential details can still be missed. To address this, purchasing a 3-channel dash cam is a wise investment.

There are various 3-channel systems available, including fixed, detached, and fully rotatable interior cameras. The VIOFO T130 features a rotatable interior camera that can quickly adjust to face the driver's side window, recording conversations with passengers, police, or anyone else approaching the car. The Blueskysea B2W has both front and interior cameras that can be rotated up to 110° horizontally to record interactions with the driver's window.

For 360° coverage with no blind spots, the 70mai Omni has a front camera that uses motion and AI tracking to capture all the action. The 70mai Omni is still in the pre-order stages, so we have yet to test it in practical use, as it's unclear how the camera will prioritize events happening simultaneously. The Carmate Razo DC4000RA does look like a better solution, with three fixed cameras providing 360° coverage.

For a comprehensive all-around view, multiple cameras can be used, like TeslaCam. Brands such as Thinkware and Garmin offer options for a build-your-own multi-channel system.

Thinkware's Multiplexer allows users to turn the F200PRO into a 5-channel system with a combination of rear, interior, exterior rear, and exterior side cameras. However, these systems only support 1080p Full HD recording.

Garmin allows up to 4 standalone dash cams to be used simultaneously, with each cam being either single or dual-channel and recording in 2K or Full HD. So, yes, you can have up to eight cameras! Then, using Garmin’s special software, all footage can be consolidated and displayed in an easy-to-read grid layout. This flexibility comes with the trade-off of managing four microSD cards and four sets of cables.

Combining the flexibility of Thinkware, the power of Garmin's app, and Tesla's storage solution would require a lot of storage and power. Luckily, with advancements in dedicated dash cam battery packs, there is nothing a BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8 and Cellink NEO Extended Battery Packs can’t handle.

Getting Started with the Best Dash Cams of 2023

If you’re interested in getting the FineVu, VIOFO, Thinkware, and BlackVue dash cams and accessories mentioned in the video or in this blog, there’s nowhere else to go but at BlackboxMyCar.

If you want to get yourself, your family, or your business a dash cam, or you want a second opinion on the perfect solution, we’re here to help!

A special thank-you to Vortex Radar for this video collaboration. We look forward to our next video project.

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