NextBase releases new AI-enabled iQ dash camera
NextBase has announced a new artificially intelligent dash camera called the iQ. The smart device combines AI-powered technology with 4G technology to connect vehicles and owners with "more than real-time" crash detection.
The iQ monitors the vehicle at all times, detecting break-in attempts, driving incidents, and more. NextBase claims that taking the role of a dash camera to the next level will have implications for safety, insurance claims, and real-time access.
"It allows users to anticipate, prevent, and defend against incidents both on the road and while parked," NextBase head of North American operations Dustin Alred told New Atlas. "Our surveys have shown that consumers are concerned not just with on-road incidents, but also with break-ins and theft."
"Insurance companies in Europe have general guidelines for dash camera footage and placement in order to gain rewards for using them," added Richard Browning, NextBase Chief Marketing and Sales Officer. "In the United States, however, there is no standard for that and most insurance companies do not give discounts for having a dash camera. Most insurance agents and lawyers, we have learned, are looking for data. Not just images."
"In court or during negotiations, that data can mean the difference in determining fault. Our iQ camera is designed to collect data from 20 minutes before an incident to 20 minutes after, including vehicle speed, up to three camera angles [forward, rear, in-cabin], and more."
The core component of the NextBase iQ is a forward-facing in-cabin camera that mounts to the windscreen just behind and slightly below the rearview mirror. Made to be permanently wired, the iQ can be connected via a fuse jumper or the vehicle’s OBD port. Both options are supplied. Another camera, wirelessly connecting to the main unit, can be mounted in the rear window.
While the vehicle is in operation, the NextBase iQ records in 1080p, 2K, 3K, or 4K resolution, depending on the camera purchased. It records from all connected cameras simultaneously in a loop. When an incident occurs, the camera immediately hard-saves the previous 20 minutes of activity and another 10 minutes forward. This includes data besides the video captured, including GPS-based vehicle speed detection, GPS coordinates, etc. Similarly, activating Witness Mode via voice command in the car or via the NextBase app will do the same.
If the driver appears unresponsive or does not respond to prompts from the camera, the iQ will activate Emergency SOS mode and send incident location information to emergency services via the cellular network. When any event happens on the road, the NextBase iQ can also immediately alert any emergency contact listed. It can send accident information directly to an insurance agent or contact as well.
While the vehicle is parked, the NextBase iQ changes to Smart Sense Parking mode. This saves vehicle battery usage by putting the cameras to sleep and using low-power proximity sensing and g-force awareness sensors. The proximity’s radius can be set via the NextBase app, allowing control over how sensitive the detection might be. When something large enough to be a threat (human-sized) enters the proximity, the NextBase iQ wakes up and begins recording, optionally sending an alert to the vehicle’s owner.
Using AI-enabled technologies such as facial detection, the NextBase iQ can determine if a person near the vehicle is merely passing by, entering an adjacent vehicle, or is actively looking inside the iQ-protected vehicle. Real-time event notification will include this information and, if connected, the iQ will send recordings to the cloud. Stealing the camera or disabling it will not remove that data.
Voice activation features for the NextBase iQ allow several real-time controls of the camera. "We know that sometimes people will want privacy for various reasons," said Alred. "Voice activation allows the user [in the vehicle] to turn off the in-cabin camera, for example. Or mute the mic."
Coming soon to the iQ (via over-the-air updates) will be additional capabilities such as Monitoring Mode, in which the camera can have certain features disabled for specific situations – such as when the car is with a mechanic, valet or teenage driver, for instance. GPS boundaries for teenage drivers can also be set, sending alerts if those boundaries are crossed.
"We see the iQ as a physical platform for continually-updated and improved software," said Browning. "We will continue to improve and enhance the camera’s capabilities and the app’s usability over time."
The NextBase iQ connects via the T-Mobile network. Without a subscription, the iQ and app have voice control and text notifications, but not cloud storage. A US$100/year plan and $200/year plan add more features and storage accordingly. Monthly options are also available and can be activated/deactivated at will.
The NextBase iQ is available in Best Buy stores, online, and via NextBase. Pricing begins at $500 for the 1080p unit. The 2K and 4K units are $600 and $700 respectively. In November, NextBase will offer the optional rear-of-vehicle camera add-on for $200.