Why no video technology on cars?

From the “Random Discussions While Travelling” file.

Why don’t they install a small camera on cars which captures digital video? I know they do this on many police cars. We’ve got the technology to do it even more unobtrusively on passenger cars. You could do it digitally and have it save, say, ten minutes at a time. Recording stops when the car stops, and the last 10 minutes are available for saving and/or retrieval. No more guessing what happened in an accident (as long as what happened was within camera range). Seems like if you stored it digitally, even an accident which damaged the camera wouldn’t erase the information. Have it saved somewhere safe and perhaps not easily retrievable or editable by those with mischief on their minds.

What would have me enthused is a feature where you could push a button on your dash that would autosave the last ten minutes in extra memory, so when you saw someone ahead of you do something especially stupid (such as cause an accident that didn’t involve you, or just someone driving like a jackass) you could have it saved while still taping normally. I don’t know who you’d send it to–I’m guessing we’d have to hire 200 new employees somewhere in the highway department just to review people’s files sent in on other jerkoff drivers. Maybe they should just archive them centrally, recording nothing but the license number of the vehicle, and only pull out and review files when said vehicle gets a set number of complaints on file?

Those are the stupid details; I’m just wondering if this is something that has been considered for passenger vehicles? Too expensive? Not enough interest in its usefulness? My husband is a forensic animator and there is still so much guesswork involved when it comes to figuring out how accidents happened.

      • I forsee great legal problems with this, paticularly towards the “self-incrimination” and “technical standards” factors, although the -uh, GM? cars? I think? that have the satellite-hookup deal may already have something like this possible, but not in current use. The satellite-hookup detects collisions and can track the vehicle’s location, -I think (I don’t got one). - MC

That’s a great idea. I think it would be very useful for protecting oneself in an accident situation. I’ve heard many stories of people that lie about accidents and some cases where the person who wasn’t at fault ends up paying for the damage. I wish I had something like that when I had my first (and only) accident, I would have gotten the full 100% coverage from his insurance company, rather than the crappy 80% because “I could have swerved”.

I think that’s an urband legend, with only a tiny bit of truth to it. What I heard was GM supposedly has a black box in their on-car computer systems, as part of its function controlling the car & engine, it records the engine performance and other things like brakes and airbag detonation (so it also has a record of acceleration hard enough to be recorded on the airbag sensor i.e. an impact). Supposedly you can pull the chip out of a crashed car and read it back with a computer, and get the data of the car’s last few seconds. But GM has also run into legal problems, it was designed for post crash analysis of the cars, but the data has been subpoenaed in cases where customers alleged defective cars.

“Why don’t they install a small camera on cars which captures digital video?”

You mean put a camcorder on your dash? Oh some people do that. Not a lot though. The chances you would ever need it for what you mentioned are pretty slim. Might be useful for recording cops that pull ya over but they get mighty pissy if you don’t turn it off.

No. I am completely against this idea. There is NO reason to allow even more government intrusions into our lives. “But will somebody think of the children!?” defenses are inexcusable.


If this were an upgrade option on your new car how much would you pay for it? I don’t think I would pay any extra for it.

I agree with homer that cameras every where recording what you are doing is something out of a scifi book about a hidious fascist society where the government is keeping track of your every move.

Yeah! A video camera in your car that would record everything you did while driving! The insurance companies would love it! And why stop there? Why not a video camera in your house to monitor everything you do in the bathroom? A lot of people slip and fall in the shower and maybe video cameras could make bathing safer! And while we’re at it, why not a computer chip implanted in your brain that would scan for subversive thoughts! That would really cut down on terrorism, wouldn’t it?