The Car Pro Shopper’s Guide To Vehicle Cameras

Cameras are everywhere these days – and by that I mean they are now showing up all over vehicles these days!

There is no doubt they are playing a bigger role in automotive safety every day. So as we head into 2016, here’s a look at the latest car camera tech and where it goes from here.

We’ll start with the basics. Standard backup cameras.

Basic backup cameras are actually pretty common now and the NHTSA will make them mandatory in most new vehicles sold as of May 2018. Many now offer multiple angles. These are a must-have in my opinion and since they’re not yet mandatory, make sure it’s a question you ask when car shopping.

Now let’s move to advanced multi-camera “surround view” systems.

They are a big focus of automakers these days. These systems use multiple cameras – and multiple angles – to help drivers see more of, well, everything. We’re talking about a 360-degree view of your surroundings. Cameras can spot vehicles, pedestrians and other obstacles in front of you, behind you and even around corners.

Ford now offers seven cameras on its new 2017 F Series Super Duty. The 2017 Mercedes E-Class also stands out- it uses dual front-facing cameras to create a 3D image of hazards up to 55 yards in front of you. This isn’t a concept, it’s today tech.

It’s also important to note that images and videos are easier for drivers to see these days – thanks to better picture quality – and bigger high-res displays inside cars.

Cameras are also about a lot more than just giving a driver immediate visuals.

They are also an integral part of new car safety systems which get more complicated by the day. Cameras pick up things like road markings, signs and traffic lights. Then they work in conjunction with car sensors – to assist functions like lane-changing assist.

So what’s next?

Car cameras will be used to make maps. Carmakers are already working on ways to take information from cameras – like the road signs and traffic information – and use it to build highly detailed maps for self-driving cars. They could constantly be updated, too, in real-time.

Sensor Fusion
Developing advanced sensor fusion techniques, an employee at the Ford Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto demonstrates how radar and camera data work together to improve autonomous vehicle sensing capabilities.

Also look for mirrorless cars. Yes, one day cameras will likely replace side mirrors entirely. One BMW concept shows us what that could look like. Ditching side mirrors also improves aerodynamics.

Jetson era stuff for sure!

Somehow I doubt Henry Ford envisioned a day cameras would ever come into play when it came to cars. But they without a doubt have done so in a big way. Remember to always ask about different camera features when shopping for your next car and find out what comes standard versus what is optional equipment.

Photo Credit: Ford
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