Radar Detectors Meet Social Networking

by Don Elliott on November 16, 2011

Radar detectors are the kind of device that not everyone needs to own. If you drive locally and rarely exceed the speed limit, a radar detector might not be for you. If you have a lead foot or drive long distances, an investment in a good radar detector can pay for itself very quickly.

The game of cat and mouse played between various speed detection devices used by the police and the radar detector industry ramps up each year. All-band radar detection and laser shifting technology are necessary to identify speed traps and red light cameras. Until recently, the police have had the advantage. However, the two leading radar detector manufacturers, Escort and Cobra, have announced social networking as their new partners for ticket protection.

Cobra calls their system iRadar. Cobra advertising states that they leverage “a crowd-sourcing model, allowing users to report and warn other users in their vicinity of live police, caution areas, dangerous intersections, and photo enforcement areas via GPS-based near real-time alerts.” Alerts are sent to members of the iRadar Community automatically via their smartphones. No buttons to push. No headlights to flash.  A free app can be downloaded to receive the iRadar warnings. More information on IRadar can be found at www.cobra.com.

Escort CEO John Larson introduced ESCORT Live! at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, billing their device as “the ultimate real-time ticket protection network.” Larson hopes to network their 2 million Escort and Beltronic radar detection devices using Bluetooth technology and smartphone apps. Escort owners will need to buy a new power cord for $79. Radar sightings are then automatically transmitted from the Escort users’ GPS-enabled smartphone to other nearby Escort users who have downloaded the free app. Escort users will see on their smartphones a map with locations of the live radar detector, the speed limit, their current speed, and an estimate of how long it will take to be in range of the speed detection device. Preview ESCORT Live! at www.escortinc.com.

At introduction, Escort Live! Is compatible with iPhones 4S, 4 and 3GS, and Android OS 2.2 phones. Cobra is available to iPhone users only, with the Android version coming soon.

Both companies are relying on crowd sourcing to revolutionize how motorists will drive in years to come. Ticket protection may be just the first step. The power of social networking makes it possible for drivers to communicate on a range of issues on the road including traffic problems, accidents, and alternative routes. If adoption rates are as predicted, the radar detector will become your communication device with other drivers. We’ve come a long way since your daddy’s CB radio, haven’t we?

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