Although in-car video screens have long been seen as a dangerous distraction, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed that passenger cars be fitted with reversing cameras as standard. The proposal is for new vehicles to be fitted with reversing cameras from 2013 onwards. This aims to help prevent accidents involving pedestrians – in particular children –arising during reversing maneuvers.
Of course, many premium vehicles have had this option for several years, with accessory companies such as Bosch and car audio specialists also having equipment on offer.
Increasingly, the video technology is combined with ultrasound systems for parking aids and parking assistance systems. This brings together the advantages of ultrasound sensor-based distance measurement as well as video technology-based visualization of the vehicle’s surroundings.
A number of vehicles also have multi-camera systems capable of giving the driver an undistorted, high-quality bird’s-eye view of the car, or able to see to the sides ahead of the vehicle. With Bosch working on aftermarket variations, they help the driver move the vehicle in tight space or around obstacles with additional safety.
The next stage is for the video systems not just to display images but also to interpret them. Smart camera systems analyze video footage in order to detect obstacles and moving objects in the vehicle’s vicinity, and to provide warnings to the driver.