Thinkware's X500 dash cam does more than just record what's outside your windshield. All dash cams do that, and they've yet to catch on much in the U.S.
The X500 adds two safety features to its standard video capture: Lane-departure warning, and forward-collision warning. While any car that has these features will cost tens of thousands of dollars, you can get the Thinkware X500 dash cam for just $249 online through Amazon and Best Buy.
The X500's camera watches the lane markers on the road. If you start to stray from the center, it will alert you. In a similar way, it can watch the vehicles ahead of you. If they start to get too close, it will alert you to slow down or otherwise avoid them.
The speed and accuracy of these safety systems can vary widely, though. The Acura RLX was so vigilant I almost didn't need to steer, for instance, while the Highlander waited too long to warn me, when I was already almost in the other lane. We only saw the X500 on display at the Consumer Electronics Show. If we get a chance to test it, we can tell you how it compares to higher-end systems.
After Russian drivers' dash cams caught that meteorite streaking across the sky two years ago, I thought for sure dash cams would start to catch on in the U.S. If Go Pro cameras are popping up on helmets everywhere, though, why not cameras on dashboards? You got me. A dash cam with compelling additional features, like the Thinkware X500, could be just what the category needs to get some traction in the U.S.