BMW adds in-dash GoPro support, we test it on the track
BMW and GoPro are teaming up to bring support for action cameras to the dashboards of the company's latest cars. To try it out, we headed out to the long straights at Road America in a BMW M3.
The action cam market is huge and growing, driving GoPro from a little startup with some funky cameras to a company on the verge of a big IPO. Extreme sports of all sorts have created this popularity, but the cultural phenomenon of the track day has had a big hand in it. The track day is when people bring their cars or motorcycles to a race circuit and drive in circles as fast as they can, hopefully without crashing into anything or blowing their motors along the way.
Some auto manufacturers are starting to capitalize on this, adding telemetry systems to their cars that record metrics and the like while their owners strut their stuff on the track. Of those, the Performance Data Recorder in the 2015 Corvette is probably the most sophisticated solution, but BMW is taking a different tack.
BMW and GoPro have worked together to add support for BMW Connected to the GoPro app. The app lets you get a live stream from your camera (useful for making sure it's pointed in the right way), as well as tweaking exposure settings without having to tap, tap, tap on the camera's little buttons.
Connect your phone to the car and now you control the camera through the dashboard display. You can still see which way it's pointed and change settings, but instead of tweaking the exposure directly you can choose from a series of presets, which is safer while driving. You can start and stop recording as well, all from the familiar iDrive controller in the center console.
The implementation is far simpler than Chevy's but the video output quality is far higher if that's important to you, and since you can mount the camera anywhere you like, you have a lot more flexibility. It's worth noting, however, that the app can only control a single camera at a time, so if you want to do some fancy multi-angle videos (like we did here), it's going to take multiple takes -- and a skilled editor. But the good news is, it's a free update to the GoPro app, and will require no additional hardware in the car itself.