Car technologies have come a long way even over the last few years. The rise of the connected car market has been a big example of this, providing a host of new options and potentially even clearing the way for the self-driving car concept to really take off. Caruma Technologies recently threw a new entry into the ring with the Caruma system, a device for the connected car that has some terrific implications for both safety and car performance.
The Caruma is a device that takes a pair of high-definition (HD) cameras, both of which have wide-angle lenses, and incorporates these cameras into a single device with a set of sensors included. The result is a device that can record activity going on both inside and outside of the vehicle, and should there be unusual activity going on—most anything from collisions and vandalism, to theft or aggressive driving—the system sends a message to the user's smartphone.
Meanwhile, the sensors included as part of the device—including GPS systems, gyroscope, infrared proximity and even a barometer—all combine to gather information about driving performance, including proximity to other vehicles, vehicle speed, and a host of other options. The device is thus capable of things like real-time feedback about driving performance to recording video clips of drivers singing along to a favorite song for later upload to the user's social media platform of choice. This improves driving capability, and Caruma hopes to reach the point where users can take the Caruma score to an insurance provider and use that score to bargain a lower car insurance rate.
For right now, however, Caruma is on the Indiegogo system, out to raise $100,000 for development through August 13. Those interested will be able to use Indiegogo to preorder a Caruma system for $279, with an expected delivery date of April 2016. It's currently at $8,834 on Indiegogo as of this writing, so it's likely to reach its stated goal, and has flexible funding besides.
The Caruma looks like a smart idea with a few possible downsides. While a dash cam these days isn't exactly a bad idea—it does help quite a bit to have a video record of an accident in progress, particularly if the driver isn't at fault—there are some more disturbing implications here to consider. The dash cam function here is sound enough, and the idea that it can notify a user remotely is great for those concerned about a car's safety in a parking lot.
Essentially, from the look of it, the Caruma system is like a smartphone a car can use to call its owner if it's being broken into or otherwise vandalized. It's the role the insurance companies play that gives me some concern; I like that people can take Caruma scores to insurance companies to bargain for a lower rate, but it could be that insurers might eventually require a Caruma—or something like it—as a condition of insurance.
Implications aside, though, the Caruma looks like it's going to be a great tool for those concerned about car safety. For teenage drivers, this could be a particularly smart choice. In its current form, the Caruma shows us the power the connected car market can have.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi