Smart dashcam company Owl challenges OnStar with automatic crash response service | Industry

Owl Cameras, the company behind the connected dashboard camera that captures everything in and around your vehicle 24/7, is rolling out an automatic crash response service that will alert authorities if a crash is detected.

Founded out of Palo Alto, California in 2016, Owl has built a dashboard-mounted camera that delivers video footage directly to your mobile device, capturing everything from scrapes and crashes to break-ins, police pullovers, and anything quirky happening on the roads.

The camera can simultaneously film both inside and outside in HD.


Owl sells its dashboard cam as part of a $349 bundle, which includes a one-year “LTE Instant Video” service that offers unlimited video alerts and 60 minutes of remote video-viewing per month. Once that year is up, users pay $99 for 12 months access to the service. The camera still works without a subscription, but users can only access their videos over a Wi-Fi connection.

Put simply, if you want a live round-the-clock view of your car, you will probably need a subscription.

Now, Owl is adding another monetization stream to its armory. Rather than bundling an automatic crash response service into the existing annual subscription, the company is charging an additional $79 per year for the privilege. Owl is actively pitching its new service against the likes of GM’s , which offers a similar crash response service for $25 per month.

If the Owl cam detects a crash, Owl’s in-built smarts will check that the people inside the car are okay using the camera’s visuals and intercom system. Owl’s human agents will then call 911 if it’s deemed that the emergency services are needed.

Above: Owl automatic crash response calling

“With our new automatic crash response, Owl gives people the peace of mind of having live agents on call and ready to help in case of a crash,” noted Owl founder Andy Hodge.

It’s worth noting here that although the Owl cam is designed to detect all manner of incidents, including break-ins, Owl will only call on the emergency services in the event of a crash. Users are already sent alerts if someone breaks into their vehicle, and for the most part they should be able to call 911 themselves.

At the helm

Owl Cameras counts some notable people at its helm, including CEO Hodge who was among the first members of Apple’s iPod and iPhone leadership teams. Cofounder and CTO Nathan Ackerman worked at Microsoft for 10 years, where he most recently served as senior director of program management for HoloLens.

The company announced a $10 round of funding back in August, which was in addition to the $18 million funding tranche the company nabbed six months previous.

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