As someone who shoots a lot of drive videos, I certainly have a list of gripes about camera tech. It took many garbage recordings to finally go name-brand and get a GoPro. Which shoots well but has many of its own quirky irritants. Examples? The best drive videos (in the world! :) are often cut short by my GoPro Hero 3+ because of micro-SD formatting issues. Audio quality is a constant irritant, as is the clunky GoPro UX design that hides numerous settings in a cryptic dot-matrix menu. And then once the perfect mounting place is found, the videos often come back dull and unexciting. They need heavy, heavy post-production to achieve anything near TopGear production values — so one-take wonders are really more luck than science.
Waylens is a startup project that is rocketing up Kickstarter since its launch this morning. The Waylens camera promises solutions to many gripes noted above, and also adds the very-cool on-board diagnostic data overlays into the equation — a la the Corvette’s PDR (performance data recorder). Waylens will accomplish this by using a wireless OBDII plug that communicates critical info to the camera while driving. A smooth exterior look, fabulous video quality and simple operating instructions represent a true threat to the GoPro empire.
All in all, this means that all my barely-watchable car videos (and yours!) may soon take a big leap up the quality scales.
Waylens is currently almost triple funded above its $55k initial goal — but the well-prepared team is eager for as much pre-launch buzz as possible — with every extra dollar speeding development up and getting cameras in our hands sooner! Check out the Waylens details below, courtesy of the team and their kickstarter page. Also pop them a buck or two if you are ready for next-level drive videos!
About this project
THE WAYLENS EXPERIENCE
You’re a driver, not a cameraman. So, just drive and leave it to the Waylens to capture, manage and store all your best moments behind the wheel.
The Waylens camera overlays real-time performance data on top of high quality video empowering drivers to tell fuller, more compelling stories. Our free companion mobile app enables users to quickly identify and share their most interesting moments hidden within hours of footage.
HOW IT WORKS
- Works with any vehicle with an OBD-II port. Most vehicles sold in the US after 1996 are mandated to have an OBD-II connector. Even some models older than 1996 work fine too. Verify your vehicle is supported.
- Pre-paired OBD-II connector and steering wheel remote.
- Advanced suite of internal sensors: 10 Hz GPS, 9 axis motion sensor (gyro, accelerometer, magnetometer), barometer.
- The Waylens OLED display doubles as a user customizable gauge, displaying any of the supported OBD-II codes in real time.
- Automatically overlay performance data on top of video.
- Data driven video search and editing makes your life easy.
- One touch video upload from the road (supported smartphone models only).
Here’s a sample of our video quality when compared to a leading action cam. A small video will download to your computer because we want you to see full HD footage (not supported when hosted on Kickstarter).
The Waylens mobile app provides powerful editing tools through a simple interface.
The Waylens camera is specifically designed for the challenges of an automotive environment. Our camera provides great video quality even during low light and high speed driving.
The Waylens camera system is simple to install and can be mounted to a windshield with the included suction cup mount. Simply stick the suction cup to the windshield and tighten the bolt. Attach the camera to the base, adjust position, and you’re done. The camera can be rotated 360 degrees to capture the road or moments happening inside the car. A GoPro compatible mount adaptor will be available for purchase (coming soon).
The Waylens can be operated on battery power or plugged into a 12v cigarette lighter socket. An optional hard wiring kit is also under development. The Waylens OBD-II connector and steering wheel remote come pre-paired with the camera via Bluetooth right out of box. Both are easy to install, with no training, in only a few seconds.
Our team has poured over every last detail of the Waylens design. Every decision made and component included was the result of extensive research and prototype testing.
The Waylens has been designed to provide powerful video capturing and editing capabilities while remaining simple and easy to use. We’ve invested an enormous amount of time debating every decision from sensor vendors to mounting options.
We don’t just talk about the best design, we’ve built and tested four generations of prototypes. The images below show the evolution of our prototypes.
Many Kickstarter projects have difficulty delivering, which is why we’ve worked side-by-side with our manufacturing partners throughout the entire process. This ensures there are fewer issues when we finally go into production.
In addition to building hardware, we’ve also written and tested tens of thousands of lines of code.
MANUFACTURING AND SUPPLY CHAIN
We have already secured most critical components and manufacturing partners to ensure there are no major surprises as we ramp up production to full volume.
THE WAYLENS COMMUNITY
We’re not just launching a product, we’re building a community. We want our Kickstarter backers to be involved in the process of bringing the Waylens camera to market and providing feedback on the product. We’ll be setting up a forum after the campaign to facilitate feedback from our backers.
Waylens encourages all of our users to enjoy their vehicles responsibly. If you have a need for speed, please drive at an official track or event. The links below can be useful for locating a track in your area.
We’ve talked about a lot of innovative features, but don’t take our word for it. See for yourself. The videos below demonstrate the current state of our technical prototype.
Demo of the paired prototype streaming live video to a smartphone.
Live video stream with vehicle performance data.
Waylens is made up of a diverse group of individuals, all of which come together to create the perfect team for building our product. Our team includes world class designers, engineers, and developers as well as passionate car enthusiasts and camera experts. There’s no team in the world better suited to build an automotive camera than Waylens.
Haowei Zhang – Chief Executive Officer (LinkedIn)
Dawei Shen – Chief Technical Officer (LinkedIn)
Phil Salesses – Chief Creative Officer (LinkedIn)
Mike Schmidt – Chief Marketing Officer (LinkedIn)
Tao Lin – Principal Designer (LinkedIn)
John Nielsen – Marketing Manager (LinkedIn)
Risks and challenges
Like all Kickstarter projects, we will face many challenges in delivering this product at the quality level we demand of ourselves. The main risks include:
Designing an experience this simple is very difficult, but we think we’ve conquered the major obstacles. In order to achieve engineering success, we have built an amazing team and we obsess over testing.
In the last year, we have built 4 generations of prototypes, iterating each time to produce a simpler, more reliable product. We have a sizable office in Shanghai, China with designers and engineers hailing from MIT and Frog Design.
SUPPLY CHAIN AND LOGISTICS
Many campaigns experience problems when taking their prototypes to production. We expect this risk to be reduced since our designers and engineers in Shanghai have worked along side the very people and factories who will be manufacturing this product. We’ve already ordered key components and have a supply chain in place.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.