With Raven in Your Kid’s Car, You Can Helicopter Less Obviously

Did your 16-year-old just get their first car? Are you nervously biting your fingers every time they leave home? Raven gives you a way to know exactly what’s going on in your teen’s car — how they are driving, where they are driving, and who’s in the car with them — while disguising itself as a slick heads-up display.

With Raven in Your Kid's Car, You Can Helicopter Less Obviously

Helicopter parents, rejoice!

Okay, I’m only halfway kidding.

Raven is actually a cool device that either sits on your vehicle’s dash or attaches to the windshield; it plugs into any available USB port, and it uses its own 4G LTE connection. Why would it need that? Because that way Raven is able to immediately tell you (through its app) if someone is breaking into your car, who is in your car, driving time-lapse videos of the road, if there are any maintenance issues, and it can give next-turn navigation with real-time information.

What’s in the box? It comes with the Raven, a dash/windshield mount, an OBD-II adapter, a 6′ cable, and a quick-start guide.


With Raven in Your Kid's Car, You Can Helicopter Less Obviously

If you’re a parent, you can use the Raven app to see exactly where your teen’s car is, watch how they are driving on the road (are they texting while driving?), see who they have in the car (and what they are doing while your teen is driving), get notified when your teen starts or stops the car, get notified if they are in an accident, and there are other uses as well.

Raven says you can use the data gathered to provide your teen with feedback, but let’s think about that for a moment … Maybe it would be better if they had no idea that you could do all that with their nifty heads-up display. 😉

I have to admit that I would have probably appreciated being able to check in and see what was going on in my daughter’s car, back when she was a new driver. Let’s not call it spying, let’s call it caring enough to make sure that they are okay … okay?

If you’re a daily commuter, you can give your spouse access to the app so they know without asking when you’ve left work and where you are in relation to getting home in time for dinner (it’s better than them texting and driving, right?). You can make a gesture to Raven if you want to capture weird or interesting “driving moments”. Raven will also give you real-time updates of driving conditions on its dashboard and “provide you and your loved one’s comfort, knowing what’s ahead.”

If you have an elderly parent, Raven can also provide some peace of mind. You’ll know when mom or dad is on the road, and you’ll be alerted if there are any driving incidents or accidents immediately. Raven will also alert you when there are any “vehicle-related maintenance problems and service reminders.” You’ll also have the ability to spy on mom or dad in the car as they are driving along. Honestly … you might catch them eating lunch while driving or picking their nose.

Maybe this is all just a little bit weird.

Cool, but weird.

With Raven in Your Kid's Car, You Can Helicopter Less Obviously

If you’re an Uber or Lyft driver, you’ll be able to “guard against bad reviews or false accusations from passengers with dash and cabin camera recordings,” and get immediate notifications of any vehicle-related problems or maintenance reminders. Raven also provides “fuel efficiency and driving reports that break down your trip activity and help improve your driving habits.”

Here’s a breakdown of Raven’s service plans The lowest level plan is at $8/month. With it, you get unlimited security alerts and notifications, crash and accident alerts, remote live video streaming from the mobile app (low resolution), occasional use of the mobile app, remote access to driving history and reports, automatic video uploads to your phone, real-time driving advice on Raven’s dynamic dashboard, and free updates including new features, improvements, and network defense.

For $16/month ($173/year), you get all of the previous items plus medium resolution on the remote live video streaming from the mobile app, daily use of the mobile app, and support for multiple drivers. You’ll also get a 10% discount if you pay by the year.

For $32/month ($346/year), you’ll get all of the above plus HD Video on the remote live video streaming from the mobile app, and unlimited cloud storage for tagged videos and timelapses.

The highest tier is $48/month ($518/year); it offers all of the above plus 1GB of mobile hotspot for up to 4 mobile devices.

Raven’s Tech Specs:
• Android-powered
• Qualcomm Snapdragon core
• 4 GB RAM
• 16 GB Internal Storage
• Slot for MicroSD
• Forward and rear cameras (Night vision)
• Cellular (LTE cat 4)
• WiFi/GPS
• High-resolution displays
• High fidelity speaker
• Noise-canceling Microphones
• Glass breaking/Motion sensors
• Telematics via direct OBD II

Right now, Raven is taking deposits of $49; when the unit is ready to ship, you’ll owe an additional $229. All in all, it’s not a bad deal for a bit of peace of mind. You can learn more here.


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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct smaller.com; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.