The latest Garmin portable navigation devices are packed with useful features, but consumer interest is declining. Meanwhile, HD dash cams are hotter than ever. So Garmin has combined the two products and added a dash of driver aid tech to create the new NuviCam. Garmin claims this is "the first sat nav to feature a built-in dash cam and advanced alerts to enhance driver awareness on the road."
The NuviCam starts with a 6-inch, pinch-to-zoom Garmin portable navigation device (PND) and slaps a high-definition dash cam onto its back panel. The camera records a continuous video feed of the road ahead and, when an impact is detected by its accelerometer, captures the moments immediately leading up to and following the bump on its included microSD card along with GPS speed and location data.
Hopefully, accidents will be few and far between, so in the interim, the NuviCam will be able to provide camera-based driver aid features, watching the cars ahead and the lane markers to provide audible and visual forward pre-collision and lane-departure warnings, respectively. Garmin's Real Vision feature displays an augmented reality view of the road ahead when approaching a destination that overlays house numbers along with arrow-shaped indicators to let drivers know precisely where to go when the actual house numbers may be obscured or missing.
This is, of course, all in addition to the NuviCam's primary function ofwith lifetime map updates and traffic data via HD Radio in the US and DAB in the UK. Being based on top-tier Nuvi hardware, the NuviCam also features the Garmin's Smartphone Link integration, active lane guidance, "photoReal" and Bird's Eye junction views, and more.
Drivers can add an optional Garmin Wireless Backup Camera (not included) to their vehicle and view its rearview feed on the NuviCam's display while reversing.
The Garmin NuviCam LMTHD is expected to be available in May with a suggested retail price of $399.99 in the US and £299.99 in the UK.
For those who still use them, a standalone portable GPS navigation device can provide reliable, accurate and low-distraction turn-by-turn directions. The NuviCam could help keep the PND viable by adding a lot of useful functionality in the same amount of dashboard real estate. However, those that remember the short-livedseries of Android and Windows Phone powered smartphones-slash-PNDs know that this isn't Garmin's first foray into cross-breeding PNDs with other technologies.