Archive for the ‘car technology’ Category

“Black Box” Technology Comes to Cars

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

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A company that provides communications systems to law enforcement agencies around the world has developed a black box similar to those used in aircraft to record crash data in cars.

The Smart Black Box by KCI Communications sticks to your windshield and uses a built-in camera, GPS unit and G-force shock sensor to document accidents. The info could come in handy when trying to determine fault or explain to your insurance company just what happened when you crunched your car.

“It’s the cheapest, most reliable thing yet for recording the events leading up to and after an accident,” Chris Pflanz, the company’s director of sales, told Wired.com. “We’re currently just trying to get the word out about this product, but we would eventually like to see insurance companies offer users of it a discount on their monthly premiums.”

The Smart Black Box costs about $300 and constantly records video footage on a loop as you drive. Should the shock sensor detect an accident, the device saves the 15 seconds prior to impact and the 5 seconds afterward. The footage is saved to a SD Card, like that found in your digital camera, making it accessible on a home computer.

KCI says the GPS unit will record the time and location of an accident and document your speed and direction of travel. The company says that could be useful when trying to prove that red light you ran was actually yellow or in cases where you dispute the reading on a cop’s radar.

“It’s the perfect way to fight back,” said Pflanz. “The authorities always have surveillance cameras on you. Why not put a camera on them for a change?”

KCI Communications is of course not the first company to put a camera in your car. But it couples the camera with GPS documentation and a built-in G-shock sensor, which is capable of tracing the point of impact during an accident on a three line X, Y, Z graph. Unlike other car camera providers, Pflanz said KCI Communications also doesn’t charge a monthly fee or aggregate the recorded data through a main-frame server.

“What you record is yours,” he said. “So, if you happen to be at fault in an accident, nobody else has to see it if you don’t want.”

Photos: KCI Communications

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