Built-in dash cams the next big thing in new-car technology?

Dash cams may be the next big thing in new vehicle features – if car shoppers have their way.

A recent survey of more than 1,000 vehicle owners by research company AutoPacific found that seven out of 10 want built-in dash cameras in their next vehicles.

That’s more than vehicle airbags (66 percent), head-up display (65 percent), and over-the-air vehicle system updates and exterior 360-degree security cameras (64 percent) in results that were “highly focused on safety and security,” according to a report on AutoPacific’s Future Attribute Demand Study.

dash cam
A 360-degree built-in dash cam in a BMW X3 M-series.

“Features that promote safety, whether through improved driver visibility or collision avoidance, have been trending upward in research for the past few years,” said company research analyst Deborah Grieb. “But security-focused features like a dash camera have not historically shown the same demand.”

Dash cameras are video recorders that continuously capture views through a vehicle’s windshield, although some also record views through other windows and even a vehicle interior. Ironically, most “dash cams” currently are mounted on the windshield or reverse side of the rearview mirror.

windshield cam
Windshield-mounted cameras already are popular accessories as an aftermarket add-on.

Dash cams currently are found mainly in high-end vehicles, offered by brands such as Tesla, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Cadillac, but consumers already are familiar with them.

“Consumers have experienced an influx of personal video in social and news media in recent years and are very familiar with the potential security benefits of camera footage from dash cameras, body cameras, cell phones and doorbell cameras,” said Grieb.

“It’s really not surprising to see such high interest in an in-vehicle recording device,” she said.

The survey showed that interest in dash cams was high among all age groups, vehicle segments, categories and price points, ranging from 79 percent among shoppers planning to spend more than $50,000 to 59 percent among those planning to spend less than $30,000 on a new vehicle. Among shoppers planning to spend $30,000 to $50,000, 68 percent expressed interest in dash cams.

The high interest in dash cameras, even among shoppers planning to spend less than $30,000, makes them a feature “that could be offered industry-wide as standard or optional equipment.”

Following are results from high to low in other purchase “intender” groups:

Age group

  • 40-49 years old – 75 percent
  • Under 40 years old – 73 percent
  • 50-59 years old – 71 percent
  • 60+ years old – 68 percent

Vehicle segments

  • Midsize car – 74 percent
  • Pickup and midsize SUV – 73 percent
  • Large car – 68 percent
  • Sports car and large SUV – 67 percent
  • Compact SUV – 65 percent
  • Minivan and small/compact car – 63 percent

Vehicle category

  • Luxury brand – 74 percent
  • Mainstream brand – 67 percent

For now, if you’re interested in equipping your vehicle with a dash cam, chances are you will have to purchase it separately and have it installed in your vehicle.

With results like these, though, how long can it be until automakers make them widely available?

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