Ring announces new line of security cameras for cars

Technology

Ring has announced its first foray into products meant for use outside of the home with a new line of security cameras designed for cars. The new Car Cam, Car Alarm, and Car Connect systems integrate into the same Ring app that supports the company’s home security alarm, video doorbells, and security cameras, and they provide owners with alerts for attempted break-ins. The new products are slated for availability starting next year.

Ring founder Jamie Siminoff says the reason for expanding into the automotive market is in response to customers who have been asking for ways to secure their vehicles in a similar way to their homes with Ring products.

The $59.99 Car Alarm is the simplest of the devices — it plugs into your car’s OBD-II diagnostic port and sends alerts to your phone when it detects a break-in, someone trying to tow the vehicle, or if another vehicle hits your car. The Car Alarm has a built-in siren that can be triggered remotely, and it can be linked to other Ring or Alexa devices to sound audible alerts when an event is detected.

For connectivity, the Car Alarm utilizes its parent company Amazon’s new Sidewalk network, which was announced last year and is starting to see some real products and development on it now. Amazon says Sidewalk will officially launch later this year.

The $199.99 Car Cam is Ring’s first camera for outside of the home and has the ability to record both inside and outside of the car. When mounted on a car’s dashboard, the Car Cam has a camera pointed out the front windshield and one that points toward the car’s interior. Like the Car Alarm, the Car Cam can send alerts whenever an event such as a break-in, towing, or accident is detected, and owners can tap into the cameras’ feeds to see what’s happening. The Car Cam relies on either Wi-Fi or LTE for connectivity.

In addition, the Car Cam has the ability to ping first responders automatically in the event of a “serious crash.” Another feature called “Traffic Stop” allows owners to say “Alexa, I’m being pulled over” to trigger the cameras to start recording and save their footage to the cloud. Lastly, Ring says there are privacy features built in, such as a physical camera shutter and the ability to electronically disable the interior video and audio recording.

Since so many cars already have cameras built into them — in fact, back-up cameras have been mandated on all new cars in the US since 2018 — Ring developed the Car Connect platform to integrate those existing cameras into its system. The platform is a set of APIs for car manufacturers to enable owners to receive alerts for events, view recorded footage, and see if the car is locked or unlocked.

Ring says it’s working with many automotive makers to build support for the system, but the first partnership it’s announcing is with Tesla. Owners of the Model 3, X, S, and Y that have Sentry Mode enabled will be able to install a device in their cars that allows them to connect to the car’s existing cameras and view footage.