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Ford makes dash cams look boring with a dolly that responds to how you drive

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Sedar Besak / 123RF
Car-mounted cameras are nothing new but a newly published patent from Ford suggests the cars of the future could feature their own robotic cameraman to shoot shareable footage of the drive. Unlike backup cameras and sensors for driverless cars, the patent details cameras not to help drive the car, but to share the drive on social media while keeping both eyes on the road.

The patent was filed in June 2015 and only published earlier in January. According to Patent Yogi, the system would essentially serve as a camera and dolly in one, with dashboard, windshield, window, rooftop and mirror mount options that all rotate. Instead of relying on the driver to reposition the camera, the system would turn the camera based on data from the car, including the position of the steering wheel.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-connected vehicles make it possible to sync the car’s data from the position of the steering wheel to the speed to a video of the drive, much like the Jaguar F-Type is doing to add video overlays with a new GoPro app. Mounting a camera system on a robotic dolly to turn in the direction of the car using that same connection doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch, though it’s unclear how far Ford has progressed the idea since first applying for the patent nearly two years ago.

But Ford appears to be doing more than only turning the camera in the direction of the steering wheel — the rotating camera system could actually decide if the movement warranted an adjustment of the camera’s position. According to the patent, the system could use the vehicle’s data and orientation to determine whether or not that rotational camera could move, in which direction, how far and even how fast. Using the app, users could set a pre-defined range, instructing the camera how to respond to the car’s movements — a sort of manual mode for the camera’s movement that is set ahead of time.

While a patent isn’t proof that the concept will come to life, it does offer a glimpse at what could be coming — and it makes the fixed perspective of a typical dash cam look rather boring by comparison.

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