Why it matters to you
If you want to shoot Street View photos from your car, the Insta360 Pro is the first available camera to earn Google’s approval for car-mounted shots.
Ever want to drive one of those camera-clad Google Street View cars? Well, now you can make your own ride a Street View car. This week, the Insta360 Pro camera became the first available Street View Ready camera that’s compatible with a top-of-the-car mount.
Google’s Street View Ready designation is designed to help consumers find a camera compatible with the Street View platform. While other cameras have earned the designations, the Insta360 Pro is the first that earns the recommendation for the auto category, or the kind designed for shooting as Google does with a camera mounted on top of a car. Cameras from Sphericam, Z Cam and NCTech Ltd. are also in the process of earning the designation for the auto category, but have not yet launched.
For shooting Street View via car, Google says, the camera needs to be able to capture images at high speeds, which means shooting at least five frames per second. That feature is being added to the camera through a firmware update. Additional qualifications include an accelerometer and GPS to help Google map out the location where the images were shot — Insta360 is adding GPS to the Pro with an accessory to meet the qualifications.
The Insta360 Pro fits the bill for those still photo requirements along with boasting 8K video at 30 fps or 4K at 100 fps. A built-in stabilization system should also help the camera perform while car-mounted.
Design-wise, the Insta360 might make your ride look almost as odd as the Street View Cars. The spherical, basketball-sized camera uses six lenses.
Besides earning Google’s stamp of approval, the Street View Ready classification also means that the Street View app can control the camera. As with other Street View cameras, Google also has a few to loan out for organizations and even individuals that can’t cough up the $3,500 list price for the camera.
While the Insta360 Pro is the first to earn the classification for a car-mounted camera, a number of other 360 cameras have already earned the certification for different applications, including mobile, virtual reality, and a category for software and multi-camera systems. When Google announced the Street View Ready program earlier this year, Insta360 was one of four manufacturers on the list for the auto category with cameras under development.