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A pair of black devices with small monitors stuck with suckers to the inside of a car windshield with blue tint at the top, seen from inside the vehicle
Two dashcams on a windshield

A dashboard camera or simply dashcam, also known as car digital video recorder (car DVR), driving recorder, or event data recorder (EDR), is an onboard camera that continuously records the view through a vehicle's front windscreen and sometimes rear or other windows. Some dashcams include a camera to record the interior of the car in 360 degrees inside camera, usually in a ball form, and can automatically send pictures and video using 4G.

EDRs and some dashcams also record acceleration/deceleration g-force, speed, steering angle, GPS data, voltage of the power source (vehicle's electrical net), etc.

A wide-angle 130, 170° or more front camera may be attached to the interior windscreen, to the rear-view mirror (clip on), or to the top of the dashboard, by suction cup or adhesive-tape mount. A rear camera is usually mounted in the rear window or in the registration plate, with a RCA video output to the display monitor/screen.

The resolution will determine the overall quality of the video. Full HD or 1080p (1920×1080) is standard for dash HD cams. Dash cameras may have 1080p, 1296p (common for Chinese dashcams), 1440p, or higher definition for a front camera and 720p for a back camera and include f/1.8 aperture and night vision mode.


By targeted field of view:

  • exterior view such as for recording the front view only, the rear view, etc.
  • cabin or inside viewing mode sometimes also called a taxicam

Some cabin cams include a screen that can be attached to the rear-view mirror employing usually rubber rings or straps or as a direct replacement of the rear view mirror itself. Others attach to the windshield, dash, or other suitable interior surfaces

Many dashcams include rechargeable batteries not needed when connected to car battery wire or capacitors.


To ensure that recorded video files are not tampered with once they have been recorded, videos can be timestamped in a tamper-proof manner, a procedure termed trusted timestamping.

To ensure a reliable 24/7 parking surveillance when capacity is an issue, a motion detector may be used to record only when an approaching human/vehicle is detected, in order to save power and storage media.[1]

Advanced driver assistance system ADAS and park location save can be included.

SD-cards, satellite and wireless[edit]


Dashcams usually use class 10 or above MicroSDHC or MicroSDXC cards usually 16 GB or higher or internal memory to save videos.


The port to connect the GPS antenna can use a micro USB or 3.5 mm jack connection. The antenna is usually 1575 to 1568 MHz and 3.0 to 5.0 V.

GPS coordinate stamping capability is included in most dashcams (some need an external GPS antenna, but other dashcam systems have built-in GPS), and others include GPS (online and offline) navigation.

Wireless connectivity[edit]

Some dashcams include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 4G connectivity.

For Bluetooth and voice commands and recording, a built-in microphone is included.

4G triple-cam (also called triple-lens and three-way-cams) sets on rearview mirror are becoming more available (2 front cameras - one 170° to mainly record road, one 360° for sides and doors and a rear camera).

4G is used to send messages, calls, pictures, and videos in parking surveillance mode. Usually a second 360° camera is employed to record the car's sides front doors and windows and inside.

Also, 4G is used to send a message when the car battery is low.


Dashcam units usually operate via the vehicle electrical system, converting the 13.8V to a 5V USB connector. Dashcams can be plugged in via the cigarette lighter socket, or may be hardwired directly into the electrical system, freeing up the power outlet for other uses.

In order to store files and properly format the media card when power is turned off, dashcams use either a Lithium Polymer (LiPo) battery or a capacitor. While both provide power for a very short period of time, they have very different operating capabilities and limitations. LiPo batteries have an estimated life of 2-3 years or roughly 300-500 cycles. Over time, the material inside the battery will start to degrade resulting in out-gassing. This can be observed in a swollen or puffy looking battery case. When a LiPo battery reaches this point, the battery is no longer able to hold a charge. The result is a camera that may randomly turn on or off, or register format errors if it can't shut down correctly when power is turned off since it can only function when using the power from the vehicle. Capacitors can also store a temporary charge and will last much longer. They are also more resistant to higher operating temperatures, but are more expensive and require additional hardware or software support. Generally the LiPo batteries are found in less expensive dashcams and capacitors are used in more expensive dashcams.


Dashcam recording of the Chelyabinsk meteor

Dashcams are widespread in Russia[2] as a guard against police corruption and insurance fraud, where they provide additional evidence.[3] They have been called "ubiquitous" and "an on-line obsession", and are so prevalent that dashcam recordings were the most common videos of the February 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor,[4] which was documented from at least a dozen angles. Videos showing automobile and aircraft crashes, close calls, and attempts at insurance fraud have been uploaded to social sharing websites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Yandex, and other websites.[citation needed]

In the United Kingdom, sales of dashcams rocketed in 2015, which was the fastest growing consumer electronic, with sales increasing by 395%.[5]

In China, dashcams were well known by a dramatic event of a road rage.[6][further explanation needed]

Dashcams have also captured numerous aviation accidents, such as National Airlines Flight 102 in 2013,[7] TransAsia Airways Flight 235 in 2015,[8] the Shoreham Airshow crash in 2015,[9] and the catastrophic engine failure of United Airlines Flight 328 in 2021.[10]

Dashboard cameras have become the top feature wanted by future vehicle buyers,[11] and more car manufacturers are incorporating built-in camera systems.[12]


While dashcams are gaining in popularity as a way of protection against distortion of facts, they also attract negative attitudes for privacy concerns. This is also reflected in the laws of different countries in different and conflicting ways:

  • Austria prohibits their use if the main purpose is surveillance, which may carry fines of up to € 25,000.[13] Other uses are legal, although the distinction can be difficult to make.[14]
  • In Switzerland, their use is strongly discouraged in public space as they may contravene data protection principles.[15]
  • In Germany,[16] while small cameras for personal use in vehicles are allowed, posting footage from them on social-media sites is considered a violation of privacy and thus forbidden, if personal data is not blurred in the footage. In 2018, the Federal Court of Justice ruled that although the permanent recording of traffic events is inadmissible under national data protection law, the recordings made may nevertheless be used as evidence in civil proceedings after careful consideration of the interests involved.[17] It can be assumed that this case law will also apply under the new basic European Data Protection Regulation.
  • In Luxembourg, it is not illegal to possess a dashcam but it is illegal to use one to capture videos or still images in a public place which includes in a vehicle on a public road. Recording using a dashcam may result in a fine or imprisonment.[18]
  • In Australia, recording on public roadways is allowed as long as the recording does not infringe upon one's personal privacy in a way that may be deemed inappropriate in a court of law.[19]
  • In the United States, at the federal level, the video taping of public events is protected under the First Amendment.[20] Videotaping of non-public events and videotaping-related issues, including sound recording and matters related to time of the day, venue, manner of recording, privacy concerns, implications on motor vehicle moving violation issues such as whether the windshield view is being blocked, are dealt with at the state level.
  • In Russia, they are explicitly allowed by regulations issued in 2009 by the Ministry of the Interior. [21] Courts almost always use the video recorder attached to the analysis of the accident as evidence of guilt or innocence of the driver.[22]

Police use[edit]

Police departments use dashcams in police vehicles to gather evidence during traffic stops and car chases.[23] Some dashcam systems can be automatically activated when a police car's emergency lights or siren are turned on.[24][25][26] Freedom of information laws mean that the footage can be released under some circumstances,[27] and this can be an important tool in reporting on police actions.[28] TV shows like World's Wildest Police Videos have frequently featured car chase videos shot from dashcams.

Some police officers accused of police brutality or misconduct tamper with their cameras to disable audio or video recording.[29] A report in 2016 showed that in Chicago, 80% of the police dashcams did not work properly. Among the causes were that officers destroyed antennas, hid microphones, and removed batteries or recording media.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [best dash cam "What is the best dash cam that can record while at parking mode for few days without draining car battery?"]. Retrieved 2017-05-13. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  2. ^ Lavrinc, Damon (2013-02-15). "Why Almost Everyone in Russia Has a Dash Cam". Wired.
  3. ^ Galperina, Marina (2012-06-13). "Why Russians Are Obsessed With Dash-Cams". Jalopnik.com. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
  4. ^ "Russian dash cam video: From stunning to bizarre". CBS News. 2013-02-18. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
  5. ^ "Dash cam sales grow faster than tablets and digital cameras in 2015". Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  6. ^ "Man's brutal beating of female driver divides Chinese public after different car videos emerge". Retrieved 2017-05-13.
  7. ^ AEROpress BG (2013-04-30), National Air Cargo's Boeing 747-400 freighter crash in Afghanistan, retrieved 2018-07-15.
  8. ^ McCormick, Rick; Vincent, James. "Dashcams capture dramatic footage of Taiwanese plane crash". The Verge. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  9. ^ playboy17220 (2015-08-22), Shoreham Air Show, Sussex Plane Crash Record by dash cam, retrieved 2018-07-15{{citation}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link).
  10. ^ Knowles, Hannah. "United flight's engine failure rained debris at least a mile wide near Denver, officials say". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2021-02-21.
  12. ^ Lee, Christopher. "7 Car Brands with Built-In Dash Cams". EyewitnessDashCams. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  13. ^ "Zulässigkeit von Dashcams im österreichischen Straßenverkehr". www.oeamtc.at. 2023-01-20. Retrieved 2023-01-20.
  14. ^ "Videoüberwachung durch Private". www.oesterreich.gv.at. 2021-11-30. Retrieved 2023-01-20.
  15. ^ "Guidelines on video surveillance in vehicles (Dashcams)". edoeb.admin.ch. Retrieved 2014-04-21.
  16. ^ "Gerichtsurteil zu Videokameras im Auto: Dashcams verstoßen gegen Datenschutzgesetz". Der Spiegel. 2014-08-12. Retrieved 2014-11-03.
  17. ^ "Urteil des VI. Zivilsenats vom 15.5.2018 - VI ZR 233/17 -". juris.bundesgerichtshof.de. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  18. ^ "Les caméras de surveillance installées dans les voitures sont-elles licites ?". www.guichet.public.lu. Archived from the original on 2015-07-08. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  19. ^ "Dashcams 101". Dashcams. 2013-12-01. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  20. ^ Opinion granting motion to dismiss. Archived 2011-01-07 at the Wayback Machine Maryland v. Graber. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  21. ^ "Приказ МВД № 185 Об утверждении административного регламента МВД". www.stopca.ru. Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  22. ^ "Why Almost Everyone in Russia Has a Dash Cam". Archived from the original on 2020-08-04. Retrieved 2020-08-16.
  23. ^ "Cross-Examining Film". ssrn.com. SSRN 1202043.
  24. ^ "Local police support dash cam policies, protecting citizens and officers". KHOU. 25 April 2012. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  25. ^ "LAPD officers tampered with in-car recording equipment, records show". latimes.
  26. ^ "Court orders state police to hand over cruiser dash cam video of crash scene". PennLive.com.
  27. ^ "Court rulings bolster public access to police videos". splc.org.
  28. ^ "How a little-known, Uber-driving freelancer brought the lawsuit that forced Chicago to release a police shooting video". Columbia Journalism Review.
  29. ^ Samuel Lieberman (2016-01-27). "Chicago Police Have Been Sabotaging Their Dash Cams". Nymag.com. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  30. ^ Time: Chicago Police Officers Sabotaged Dashcams to Block Audio, Report Says 2016-01-28, time.com, accessed 2020-09-03

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