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iCar app turns an iPhone into a car accident black box

By

January 28, 2011

The iCar Black Box app lets your iPhone double as an accident recording system

The iCar Black Box app lets your iPhone double as an accident recording system

Watch any of those Caught on Tape!-type shows, and you’ll know just how valuable an in-car “black box” camera can be. Not only does it provide a visual record of who was at fault in an accident, but you can also use it to record any other questionable activity that takes place in front of your car. While most of the “sensational” footage comes from cameras in police cars, civilian versions such as the CarCam Voyager and the envisionCAM are available for us regular folk. You can go ahead and pay US$100 to $575 for one of those ... or you can shell out 99 cents for the iCar Black Box iPhone app.

You could also, of course, just mount your iPhone on your windshield and roll its video camera every time you hit the road. For the extra dollar, however, iCar offers a few useful extra features.

For one thing, it uses the phone’s GPS to keep a constant record of your speed – very important if a dispute arises as to who was to blame for an accident. It also utilizes the GPS, clock and date functions to create a map that displays where and when an accident took place.

Additionally, it only saves footage when instructed to do so, so you’re not left with hours of images to sift through. It uses the phone’s accelerometer to detect when an accident has (presumably) taken place, and then verbally asks if you wish to save. If you press OK on the screen, it then retroactively saves the footage leading up to the accident. Should a Bigfoot cross the road in front of you, or something else happens that you think should be saved for posterity, you can also start recording at any time by touching the Emergency Record icon.

In the event of an accident, it will ask if you wish to autodial 911, or a pre-assigned emergency contact number – a feature shared by the Tiwi teen driver monitoring system. Admittedly, you could do that part without the app, although every little bit of offered assistance helps in the aftermath of an accident.

It does look like the whole setup might be a little awkward – the phone and mount (which you would have to buy if you didn’t already possess) take up some prime road-viewing real estate, and the cords dangling from either end of the phone could be a nuisance.

The iCar Black Box iPhone app is available on iTunes.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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7 Comments

Wow! Make sure you're legally in the right before pushing the Save button.

If not, both the cops and the other guy's lawyers are REALLY going to want to see the video.

I notice that one of the ads accompanying this article is for "peronal Injury Lawyers" :-)

Wombat56
28th January, 2011 @ 05:31 pm PST

"It uses the phone's accelerometer to detect when an accident has (presumably) taken place, and then verbally asks if you wish to save. If you press OK on the screen,"

There's no way an Apple fan is going to leave a big bloody fingerprint on their iPhone. :-) Maybe this needs a "one scream of agony for no, two screams of agony for yes" option.

The last full paragraph of this article suggests this little bugger might actually be the CAUSE of accidents.... if it is, I wonder if iCar data will be introduced in a trial against its creators. :-)

alcalde
28th January, 2011 @ 08:53 pm PST

It sounds fantastic! Recording video&audio, Gps, G force....BUT !?

How it records video during night drive when there is no street light ???

I think that front car lights are not enough, so you need IR light or some better recording device solution .

Daniel Stefanovic
29th January, 2011 @ 06:04 am PST

That is nice if the accident is in front of you! What if it is a side impact? What if you get rear ended. Why waste 99 cents on a crippled app. Very funny also that quick stops are registered as possible accidents ROFL. Does it tell you when you hit squirrels too?

Zdaxxy™
31st January, 2011 @ 05:51 am PST

If it was like the video and data recorder in airplane, where pilots don't have the option of buying it or not buying it, turning it on or not turning it on, it would then be a fantastic application. But with BOTH, having the application and when it is in use, being optional, it has become just another application for the IPhone.

Christopher Range
7th December, 2011 @ 07:56 am PST

Video recordings inside a car, that is ingenious why wasn't this mandatory years ago.

Zed Rengeki
11th April, 2013 @ 10:56 am PDT

THis thing sucks. Looks likes it working, but when you go to your list of recordings, there is no video of reouting info. Total blow out.

Ployd black box works great for me.even Triprec works, but Icar fails big time

jereg
3rd June, 2013 @ 06:59 am PDT
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