Why Every Taxi in Taipei Has a Dashcam Michael Kwan July 14, 2014 Automotive technology has a pretty clear trickle-down effect. It used to be the case that only higher-end luxury vehicles had airbags, but now they have become standard equipment in even the most economical of vehicles. This is also true from the third-party perspective. Standalone GPS navigation devices and portable Bluetooth speakerphones have decreased in popularity, because many cars come with both these features as standard equipment now. And while it may still take some time, I get the sense that the dashcam will eventually have a similar destiny. One of the key observations that we had when we were in Taipei for Computex a month ago was that every taxi had a dashcam. Seeing a dashcam record every moment was just as common as listening to the radio or seeing the electronic fare meter. What is going on here? The Constant Sense of High Alert The traffic situation in Taipei can be pretty crazy. Not only do you have to contend with the large number of cars, buses, vans and trucks on the road, but you’ve also got the never-ending army of scooters zipping around. You also have to remember that drivers in Taipei see the lane markings as very mild suggestions, happily weaving in and out, even ducking onto oncoming traffic to get ahead. Where you would think there is only room for one car to turn left, you’d see three cabs line up side-by-side to make the same turn. We thought it was nuts. For the people of Taipei, it’s just another Wednesday. And given this higher level of congestion and “creative” driving habits, minor fender-benders and major accidents are going to happen. It’s inevitable, especially for the taxis that are on the road for so many hours each day. This has quickly paved the way for the dashcam and its popularity continues to rise. Because the taxi drivers are on this constant sense of high alert, being hyper-aware of their surroundings, they need to have proof if anything should go awry (which it inevitably will). Better Tech for a Better Life Although the country is steeped in rich history and tradition, Taiwan is clearly a very tech-focused kind of place. It’s home to so many of the major computer and electronics companies that span the globe. Everyone from ADATA to Kingston Technology, GIGABYTE to ASUS is based out of Taiwan. And many of the people of Taiwan embrace technology and gadgets. It’s an integral part of their lives. Another company that is based out of Taiwan is PAPAGO!, makers of a range of dashcam products. You might remember when we had a look at the PAPAGO! P3 a while back, noting how it came with all sorts of safety features. The video recording is in full HD 1080p, so should the taxi driver need to pick up on a license plate or get the finer details of what may have transpired, the level of detail is there. This isn’t just for car accidents involving the taxi either; the dashcam can prove useful should there be any other unfortunate or potentially even violent incidents in front of the cab. Some people have reported fake accident claims where pedestrians purposely leap in front of cars so they can make an injury claim. A Sense of Autonomy and Self-Reliance Maybe it’s because of the Japanese influence, but I found that much of Taiwan had more of a Japanese vibe to it than the vibe I get from Mainland China. Taiwanese people, taken as an aggregate, are generally very polite and well-mannered. And it is perhaps from this kind of mentality of being particularly self-reliant. They know that they should look out for themselves and take care of themselves. Given this, should a taxi driver get involved in some sort of incident, he knows that he can’t necessarily rely on a random passerby to act as his witness for that incident. If that same taxi driver is able to record everything that happens through his PAPAGO! dashcam, then he has hard evidence that he can then present to authorities and insurance companies. Perhaps this is why having a dashcam is so commonplace in places like Russia as well. There’s a certain distrust of authority and government, so having hard proof via a dashcam can go a long way in protecting yourself from problems. And recording rogue meteors is pretty awesome too. A Small Investment for Peace of Mind You don’t need to live in as densely populated a city as Taipei to extract tremendous value from having a dashcam on your car. Here in Vancouver, there is certainly no shortage of bad drivers doing stupid and dangerous things. Many of these moments should be immortalized and recorded, even if they don’t eventually find their way to YouTube for public shaming and ridicule. It’ll make the roads safer for everyone and you can have the peace of mind of having incidents recorded as evidence too. An emerging industry leader in this sector has to be PAPAGO! They’ve got dashcams that fit any budget and they’re becoming available through more and more retailers every day. Dashcams aren’t quite as popular in North America as they have already become in places like Taiwan, but it’s only a matter of time before they are. Share This With The World!