It doesn’t matter what you drive, or how much you drive it, it’s always wise to have a dash cam in your car. Both you and your insurance company have the peace of mind that there’s video evidence of any altercations you may be involved in.
But there’s more to dash cams than recording video. Modern dash cams have started offering a great many features to help you out on the road. Voice controls, driver alerts, and so on. The Nextbase iQ, which was just announced at CES 2022, is one such camera, though its aim is to offer significantly better versions of those features through the power of AI.
The idea behind the Nextbase iQ is, above all else, driver safety, vehicle security and driver assistance. Or at least, what driver assistance you can get without it being installed on the production line.
The most obvious thing to note about the iQ is that it has three separate camera lenses working in tandem, offering up to 4K video resolution. The main unit, which is designed to be discreet and distraction-free, can simultaneously film through the car’s windshield and inside the cabin, while an optional rear camera module films what’s going on behind you.
The internal and rear camera modules offer 180-degree field of view and up to 1440p resolution, while the front module offers 140-degree field of view and up to 4K resolution video. All those lenses offer infrared night vision, and combine their field of view to offer 450 degrees of coverage.
According to Nextbase the iQ Dash Cam comes with a new unique chipset, which enables long-term software support and superior image quality, while a new lens and sensor improves the quality of low-light footage — something even the best dash cams can struggle with.
But there’s a lot more packed in that just better video quality. For starters the iQ has built-in LTE for real-time cloud connectivity, uploading your footage as it records for your own peace of mind. That also means Nextbase can roll out new software and features in the future, much as you’d expect from any connected device.
The cloud is also a key part of ‘Witness Mode,' which activates instantly via a voice command, and is designed to offer an improved security than your standard auto-recording dash cam. Cloud footage can be accessed from anywhere, and Witness Mode feeds can be shared with an emergency contact or another designated third party in real time if you want it to be.
Voice commands have also been fine-tuned from other dash cams, and uses Nextbase’s own system rather than relying on third party assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant. The idea being that you can make quick and simple commands to activate the camera, without having to go through the motions of saying “Hey Alexa, ask Nextbase to record.”
Naturally a lot of the common dash cam features are here, including the option to remotely view your camera feed, and automatic recording. However, they have been enhanced, and the iQ is aware of what’s going on around the car, with the ability to anticipate what needs recording. That way you capture a whole incident, rather than just whatever happens after the camera’s G-Force sensors detect a collision.
There’s also a ‘Valet Mode’ that will alert a car’s owner when certain conditions are triggered when it’s not in your possession. Say, for instance, it’s been left with valet parking, at the shop, or loaned to someone else. That way you know they aren’t up to any shenanigans while you’re not around. Built-in GPS also allows for real-time tracking, so you can keep track of your car’s location.
That all sounds great, but the really exciting stuff here are the driver assistance tools, all of which are designed to make your drive safer — and are more accessible than similar features that are built directly into the car. Nextbase told us that AI is crucial to these features, since there are apparently too many false positives with non-AI systems.
That should make the iQ stand out from other dash cams with similar-sounding driver assistance capabilities.
The Roadwatch AI can monitor surrounding traffic in real time, and monitor their trajectories and speed to within 2.5 mph. On top of this there’s a Vehicle Aware feature that warns you if there’s any potential danger from pedestrians or other road users, and a Driver Aware feature that monitors you for any signs of distracted driving.
Finally, an Emergency SOS feature can detect when you’re in an accident and non-responsive, and automatically contacts emergency services and first responders. The dash cam can pass on critical details, and offer an exact location with what3words support. However, it’s a completely autonomous system that comes on as a last resort, rather than a panic button you can activate yourself.
The Nextbase iQ is set to launch this September, though pricing details have yet to be revealed. It’s worth mentioning that there will also be a subscription element, which is primarily to cover the camera’s need for cellular data. Again pricing is TBA, though Nextbase told us that it’s aiming for a price around the $6 mark