Ambarella A7L-A

The terrifying video of a Russian plane crash on a freeway was captured using a dashboard-mounted camera. Those cameras are going to become a lot more common for documenting driving, and Ambarella is going to make them more cost-effective.

Ambarella A7L-ASanta Clara, Calif.-based Ambarella designs low-power video chips used in all sorts of sports cameras and digital still cameras. But the new A7L-A chip it’s introducing today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is designed for use in car video cameras.

Cameras in cars have become like airliner black box recorders, capturing video proof in case of an accident, Ambarella marketing vice president Chris Day told me in an interview. They’re a lot more popular in places such as Russia, China, Taiwan, and Korea. But Day believes they will eventually equip cars in the West as well.

The new A7L-A is a version of the A7 chip that has been the workhorse of video cameras since 2010. It can capture decent image quality, even if you’re driving at night or at dusk. Video memory is integrated directly into the chip.

Rivals include CSR’s Zoran division as well as major Japanese and Korean companies that make chips for their own cameras.

[Image credit: the Telegraph]