Buy an expensive ride these days, and it’s no doubt packed with an array of sensors, screens, cameras, and other built-in technology. But if you’re still driving an old beater or you’ve recently bought something basic, a new gadget may help you join the world of connected cars.
Known as CarVi, the round, black device mounts on a vehicle’s windshield, communicating with the driver’s smart phone. As he or she speeds down the road or highway, the CarVi app constantly analyzes video captured by the device, looking for signs of danger.
Designed to watch for unsafe lane changes, front-end collision risk, reckless driving, and a variety of other dangerous behavior, CarVi is meant to both alert the driver to the potential for danger and analyze it so the driver can later understand how to better operate their car.
CarVi launched an Indiegogo campaign earlier today, aiming to raise $100,000. As of this writing, it’s made it about a quarter of the way, bringing in $24,628 with 43 days left to go.
CarVi is hoping parents of young drivers will flock to the device to keep their kids from becoming a statistic. The company said car crashes are the leading cause of death for American teens, and 20 percent of all 16-year-old drivers get in an accident within their first year behind the wheel.
Automakers may be jealous of an app that adds connected car technology so easily. Although Audi, Mercedes, Toyota, Ford, and others are increasingly embedding technology into their vehicles, they must put those features through rigorous testing in order to insure it’s safe. This is clearly a work-around that will bring some of those features — though clearly not nearly all the tools that can be found in a $75,000 car — into anyone’s hands.
The devices are expected to eventually sell for $300, but the earliest Indiegogo donors get first crack at the CarVi for $249. When the first tier of devices sell out, the price will rise to $275. The company said it expects to start shipping this August.