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First look: Diminutive Dride Zero dash cam aims at Apple-esque setup and use

Dride is an Israeli startup set up with the intent to make iPhone-compatible dashcams easy to install and to use with the ultimate goal of making people drive safer, and AppleInsider paid them a visit.

We've all seen videos of near-death experiences from Russian dash cams, where someone miraculously survives an encounter with a runaway truck, but it's rare to see the videos of the guy that cuts you off, because existing dash cams make it too difficult to get the video out and share it. Dride wants to change all that.

Dride actually makes a few things. DrideOS is a Linux distribution that runs on Dride Zero dash cams. Secondly, there's the Dride app, which runs on iOS and Android and works with the company's Wi-Fi dash cam.

Finally, there's the Dride cloud, where the dashcam videos are hosted. With Dride hosting the video themselves, it's easier to share the link to it rather than sharing 300MB of video to someone.

Look at how small that camera is. It's not obtrusive at all.

Look at how small that camera is. It's not obtrusive at all.

Dash cams are bulky and take up a lot of space on the dash. Dride's version is much thinner and can mount in front of the rear-view mirror. It's equipped with a status LED, a button for triggering videos to be saved, an accelerometer, and the camera, all in a flat and attractive package that stays out of the way, as compared to extant bulky camera setups.

The parade of normal-sized dash cams with Dride Zero on the right

The parade of normal-sized dash cams with Dride Zero on the right

So, with the technology problem licked, how does Dride make people drive more safely? We spoke to founder Yossi Neiman, who told us that one possibility is that a Dride user could upload the video of someone cutting them off anonymously to the police, who could then issue a ticket to the misbehaving driver caught on video —a feature that is currently being tested in Dride's native Israel.

The Dride package is also very maker-friendly. Besides just buying the finished product and slapping it on your dash, it's also possible to bring your own Raspberry Pi Zero, and get their HAT (hardware attached on top) and the 3D printed case, and assemble it yourself.

While visiting Dride, we went for a drive with Neiman and saw how diminutive the camera is. It was easy to pair our iPhone 6 with the camera by joining it's Wi-Fi network. The video streamed to the camera app immediately, and we could scroll the history of video stored on the camera, and send it using the iOS share sheet to Messages, WhatsApp, Facebook and other messaging apps, just as you'd expect.

If all that sounds a little anti-climactic, that's the sort of thing that's desirable: Dride wants it to just work. Extending the ease of setup, and the surveilled angles of the car, Neiman also mentioned that it will be possible to place a camera in the rear window and they'll both sync with the Dride app.

If you're interested in checking out the dash cam, cloud, and app, go to Dride's Web site to learn more. Dride Zero's pre-order pricing is set at $69.