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Making roads safer through car video recorders

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:digital video recorder? HD content? video processors? DaVinci? 1080p?

Have you ever been in a road accident that is not your fault, and wished you had some way to prove it? If only there was a witness to back up your story to the cop, judge or insurance company representative. Enter the car digital video recorder (DVR).

Car DVRs, also known as car black boxes and dashboard cameras, are an aftermarket car accessory designed to deal with the unpredictability of other drivers on the road and drivers' misinterpretation of traffic rules. By recording live streams from the front and rear of the vehicle, car DVRs provide information to insurance companies, the legal system and others in the event of an accident.

With the need for improved video quality and the wider acceptance of full HD content, car DVRs have advanced from a single-channel analogue D1 resolution camera to multi-channel up to full HD (1080p) wide-angle cameras. For example, a two-channel Car DVR has two camerasone for the front of the car, and the other one for the rear. In addition, many sophisticated algorithms are being continually added to these cameras, giving them the "smarts" to detect people, objects and even sounds around them.

As with any good and successful product, the first rule is to get the basic features right. Considering the car DVR, we believe that nothing is more basic than image quality. Even at night or in a dark parking garage, the camera should be able to capture clear images of people, licence plates and other objects. It's important that if a vehicle has been damaged, the driver has a recorded video with clear images of the person responsible for the damage as well as the vehicle's licence plate. To overcome this challenge, Texas Instruments's DaVinci video processors integrate a noise filter in order to provide low-light imagery.

Surveillance and safety
Other important car DVR system features include high-definition video, storage and connectivity. In the future, this list may expand as users may demand more functionality from their car DVRs. Systems today provide a surveillance record of car accidents for investigations, but car DVRs of the future will do more to monitor the driver's behaviour, encourage safe driving, and improve the safety of our vehicles.

Car DVRs are a hot topic in the media right now. US TV hosts Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart mentioned how these dashboard cameras caught footage of the recent meteor shower in Russia.NBC News in the US reported that a car DVR recorded a vehicle incident involving a school bus in New Jersey.

Car DVRs are already very prevalent in Russia as well as in Taiwan and Korea. While car DVR is still growing in America and the rest of the world, the video of the bus collision in New Jersey shows how important car DVR is to keeping our roads and drivers safe in the U.S. as well. Not only do car DVRs keep record of events like car accidents and meteor showers; they also provide us with information that will help us understand what the major causes of accidents are, how drivers respond during an accident and whether or not key safety systems within the vehicle function properly. This information will help the government create safer roads and car manufacturers develop safer vehicles in the future.

One thing that both of these incidents demonstrate is that you never know when you will need a car DVR to record an event, but you can certainly count on it to provide you with video footage when you need it. Leave us a note and let us know if you have a car DVR and what events it has helped you capture.

About the author
Anshuman Saxena is product marketing manager, DaVinci video processors, at Texas Instruments Inc.

To download the PDF version of this article, click here.

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