Motoring corner: “Cameras That Watch Your Back”

As you think that you have got the best deal on your motor vehicle safety devices, another device pops up! Advancement in technology has greatly invaded the automobile industry. 

As you think that you have got the best deal on your motor vehicle safety devices, another device pops up! Advancement in technology has greatly invaded the automobile industry. 

Apart from the so called “smart cars”, we now have so many features embedded into automobiles.  This primarily means that, you don’t have to do things you used to do: dial a number on a cell phone keypad when you can just say it aloud using voice control, read a paper map when you can simply punch a destination into a navigation system, bring a bunch of CDs along on a trip when you can slip an iPod into your pocket.

Or get out of your car to make sure there’s nothing in the way before backing up when you can glance at a rearview camera, etc.

Rearview cameras debuted on luxury vehicles like the Infiniti, heavy earth moving equipments whose size would not allow for rear view mirrors and then migrated to SUVs and minivans out of necessity and now,  the feature is literary available on smaller and more modestly priced vehicles such as the Toyota Prius. 

Safety advocates are pushing for rearview cameras and similar technologies that warn drivers of people in their rearward path, to become even more prevalent, some are advocating them to be made mandatory on certain classes of vehicles.

In the meantime, automakers have added more devices to their rearview camera systems, to better let drivers avoid accidents and expensive scrapes or ease into a tight parking spot.

According to Janette E. Fennell, founder and president of the nonprofit auto-safety advocacy group KidsAndCars, the advent of rearview cameras coincided with the rise in sales of SUVs and in deaths due to “reversing” accidents.

“It’s when the SUV craze took off that a huge spike in reversing fatalities increased”, lamented Fennel. According to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) of USA, statistics showing that 221 people were killed in reversing accidents in 2007 and approximately 14,000 were injured, and that 99 of the fatalities and about 2,000 injuries were to children under 14 years of age.

These devices serve as an “Extra Set of Eyes”.  But you don’t have to buy a new car to get an extra set of eyes looking out for people and objects in your path when you back up.

Aftermarket rearview cameras are available at a variety of prices and with a wide range of configurations. Audiovox’s CMOS2 color rearview camera, for example, retails for $150 uninstalled, it’s compatible with any in-dash monitor with RCA inputs and it has five different mounting options.

Or the company’s ACA250 is a $119 Do It Yourself kit that comes with a camera that attaches to a number plate and a 2.5-inch color monitor that wirelessly displays images from it. 

Automakers offer the most advanced rearview camera systems and, having started to recognize that blind zones can exist all around the body of a car, have added “multi-view” cameras as a result.

Plus, carmakers have increasingly layered their rearview camera systems with extra safety and convenience features.

(To be continued)
 

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