Today’s cars rely on computers and electronics to improve driving safety. But you can’t update a car with new hardware like you might a computer. So what do you do if being warned of an imminent collision is something you think is vital to have — but it’s not a part of your car? You turn to Power Acoustik and look for an aftermarket solution. What you’ll find is Drive Alert.
Physically, Drive Alert sort of resembles an early model GPS, in that it’s box shaped and adheres to the windshield through the use of a vacuum suction cup mount. But it’s tiny in comparison to that technology. Placed between the driver and passenger on the windshield, it’s powered by a USB cord terminating in a plug going into a USB socket (formerly called the “cigarette lighter”) and which can be snaked around and down so as to not be obtrusive. All this makes Drive Alert portable enough to be removable when desired — those who are uncomfortable with having something exposed that could be stolen just need to take it down and hide it in the glove compartment or under the seat.
However the setup — comprehensive, but not difficult — must be repeated each time the DA is put into position; the camera’s “view” must be set so that the horizon, car’s hood and height from the road are within set parameters. So the best place to do it initially is outside and not in the garage.
So with Drive Alert on, you now see on its LCD screen a view of what’s in front of you (as there’s a front facing camera). But no you don’t spend time looking at it, you start driving and let its technology do its thing.
There are 3 things that Drive Alert will now do, once the car is put in gear and begins to travel. The camera’s “watching the road” and so will sound an alert should the car swerve out of the lane (lane departure). The second, and main thing Drive Alert handles is collision detection — looking ahead for anything that’s within 15 meters (49.21 feet). So if you’re getting too close to a car that’s in front of you (as determined by the camera/algorithm), again this device blares out a warning.
The final thing is the “black box.”It consists of two things — the first being that the micro-SD card (not included) inside the camera is recording a loop of 1, 3, or 5 minute intervals (as set up beforehand). Should the motion sensor get tripped (i.e., there’s been an impact of some kind to the car), the video currently being recorded, as well as that just recorded beforehand and afterwards as well gets “locked” and saved. Additionally a digital audio recorder turns on and records anything being heard in the car. And with an eye towards common sense, there’s an internal battery supplying the power for all this — after all, the car battery might shut down/lose power. And yes you can manually take digital video or still pictures too.
While not a panacea for safe driving, it does provide a “helping hand” for those times when being distracted could be dangerous. Or for those situations that could fall outside of the driver’s control. Just keep in mind there’s no Bluetooth, no app, it’s all self contained. “Forewarned is forearmed,” so the saying goes. $79.00 will make you forewarned in your car because you’re using Drive Alert.