Backup camera systems were first introduced in the late 90’s and for a long time have been considered a “luxury item” for a car. It wasn’t often you saw a Kia decked out with a massive stereo system, GPS navigation, and a backup camera installed. Now it’s not unusual to find cheaper cars with the option of all these features. We’re not at the stage yet when a backup camera system automatically comes installed in your car, but we’re not too far off either.
According to J.D. Power and Associates, backup camera systems have become the most sought after products for cars. A consumer interest survey by J.D. Power showed that it ranked number five. The more people want it, the more widely used it becomes. It’s hard not to find a lower-end model offering the system for 2011 cars. However, the main disadvantage of its widespread use is that expensive, more advanced systems are being offered. More advanced systems are definitely not a bad thing, but no one wants to pay a high price tag.
In 2008, Nissan had released the Around View Monitor which uses four cameras to create a 360 degree view. The cameras are located on the front and rear of the car, as well as the sides. The four images are then converted to show an image of a virtual angle. Watching the videos of this system is nothing short of impressive. Unfortunately, it’s only available on select Nissan models.
Multiple cameras are only the beginning. Delphi Automotive is currently making a system called Parking Guidance. Using multiple cameras, the system will give the driver instructions how to park the car. For those who fear parallel parking as much as I do, this is an innovative device. Being able to see through cameras is immensely helpful, but having step-by-step instructions is absolutely amazing. The system will tell you exactly when to turn your steering wheel so there is no room for error. Delphi Automotive is aiming at a 2012 release date.
Since Parking Guidance uses a computer to analyze the data from the cameras, I can only imagine how much this system will cost. It will most likely be a hefty add-on for luxury cars. I don’t doubt that within another decade it will become a standard feature. There are already systems that will actually park the car for you. Most consumers, myself included, are a little wary about this technology. Drivers still want to be in control of the car, not to mention the cost of such a feature is high.
One idea that’s still in its infant concept stage is a wide-screen monitor located on the top of the windshield. Current backup camera systems require you to look at an in-dash screen or at your rear view mirror. Designer Ho-Tzu Cheng believes it’s safer to simply look slightly up. The monitor will also show you what’s in your blind spots as well. There are a lot of issues and problems that can arise, such as using the monitor at night and if it will impair the driver’s vision. Cheng has his work cut out for him. It’s only a matter of time before cars start driving themselves, but for now, we can all benefit from a backup camera system installed in every car.
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