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Does it work? Citroen C3's Connected-CAM built-in dashcam

Published: 15 March 2017

► Testing Citroen's new inbuilt dashcam
► We try out new C3's Connected-CAM
► Does the technology work? 

The rise of the dashcam is inexorable. Insurers can now accept footage as evidence in claims, cam sales have thrived over Christmas, and social media is overflowing with windscreen-lensed mini movies. Citroen is the first manufacturer to cut out the middleman and install one in its cars directly, fitting the new C3 with its ‘Connected-CAM’ system (standard on the top-spec Flair trim, an option on mid-grade Feel).

Utilising the same forward-facing camera ahead of the interior mirror that the C3 uses for traffic sign recognition and lane departure warning, the system can store HD stills and videos on a 128Gb internal memory. A click of a button mounted below the camera (a bit of a fumble to find while your driving) records a photo, and a longer press a video, up to 20sec long.

To view the results you’ll need to download the corresponding app to your smartphone (Android or iPhone), and pair it to the camera – both tasks quick and easy. A broad 120° lens means the resultant snaps take in plenty of the car’s surroundings, with 2m pixels’ worth of zoom-ability and a GPS note of the exact location.

Your car becomes social media hub

Once the car’s stationary, hit the share button and you can tweet, WhatsApp, Facebook or otherwise broadcast said picture via your social medium of choice, if you must. The interface is just as easy as sharing a conventional photo from your phone – I managed to tweet a relatively picturesque bit of country road without difficulty – and you can set it to ‘autoshare’ shots automatically on selected channels.

Other than spamming newsfeeds with holiday roadtrip snapshots, for many the dashcam’s appeal lies in its ability to document an accident, like our Oscar-worthy staged collision above. In the event of a bump, the camera automatically stores 90sec of footage: 30sec before the impact, and 1min after.

It’s triggered by a variety of sensors, including the braking system. I tried an emergency stop in the company car park and sure enough, it appeared in the app’s memory banks as a 90sec ‘event’. I sincerely hope all events logged by C3s in the future are just as unexciting, but in a real shunt there’s no doubting the cam’s potential usefulness in logging how it unfolded, and why.

Did it work?

Yes – leaving aside the potential for an Orwellian future of road-bound inter-citizen surveillance, the dashcam’s powerful practicality is obvious. Without any wires trailing across the dashboard you could easily forget the Citroën’s cam is there, but there might be one time you’re very glad it is.

Cameras ahoy!

Everyone's a photographer... How Citroen's Connected-CAM works

1) Download the app

Download the Citroen Connected-CAM app on your smartphone

Citroën’s Connected-CAM app is easy to find, via Apple’s App Store or Google Play, and intuitive to use. Your phone connects to the cam cable-free

2) Steer ’n’ shoot

Press button in car to take photograph

Keep eyes on the road, fumble for the button, then single click for a still photo or a longer press for a video – limited to around 20sec, so you can’t film continuously

3) Now see here 

Cue plenty of lovely roadside footage... if you're very lucky

You’ll need your phone in the car to download any pictures or videos before viewing them. Images are crisp, and easily shared to Twitbookagram if that’s your bag

More tech stories by CAR magazine

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, automotive design graduate, Radical champ

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