Tuesday, December 07, 2010

US Cars May Be Required to Have Cameras

CNN: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposes a new auto safety regulation that would require rearview back-up cameras in all new cars, pickups and SUVs by 2014. Based on the proposal, drivers must be able to see directly behind the vehicle whenever the vehicle is shifted into reverse. The rule would be phased in over the next four years, starting with 10% of new cars sold expected to comply with the mandate by Sept. 2012; 40% by Sept. 2013 and 100% by Sept. 2014.

The agency estimates that the addition of rear-view camera equipment would cost between $159 to $203 per car, or $88 to $158 on vehicles already equipped with some sort of display screen -- like one used for navigation. NHTSA says the total approximate cost to equip their estimate of 16.6 million vehicles sold in 2014, would be between $1.9B and $2.7B.

Via electronsholes.


  1. I bought a new car about two months ago with a rearview camera, my previous cars had none. I can tell you : a great asset, a must-have and good for our business ;-)

  2. goes to show how much clout regulation can have to make or break businesses.

  3. I was riding in a car in Korea recently that was equipped with a backup camera and it was really nice. Wish my car had one here in the US. It was a KIA that I was riding in that was so equipped

  4. My Ford pickup truck has a back up camera. Great for attaching my trailer. Those that have to hook up a trailer often will understand what I mean. Nice to get it aligned first time every time.

    So, who gets that $88-$158? Seems the cost should be a lot less.

  5. What is a colour or monochrome camera ?

  6. On my car it is a colour camera. Believe it or not, it is even a CCD !

  7. CMOS sensor has sensitivity problem and also white pixels at high temperature. CCD is still better in this simple application :)

  8. I bought a car with a review camera back in 2004. Since then I have backed into bikes and skateboards pulling out of my garage - the camera is only helpful if you use it!

  9. Often they are still hooking up these cameras with NTSC. In these cases, there is no ADC in the path from the camera to the input of the display.

  10. A camera pointing directly behind the car - if you use it ;) - can help in the scenario of backing out of a residential garage.

    A problem I see much more frequently is backing out of a parking stall. I use a multi-facility public parking lot to drop of and pick up my daughter at her pre-school. There are intermittently lots of kids under five years old there, and not all the drivers are their parents.

    What I worry about daily is not a child being behind a car as it starts backing out, but one moving into the back-up path from behind an adjacent parked vehicle. I worry about this as a driver backing up, as a pedestrian walking with my daughter, and when we go by bicycle and trailer.

    The camera in the picture at the top of the CNN article doesn't seem to address this problem. I don't have a back-up camera. Instead I turn around and look. Maybe some of you who do have these systems can comment on how you use them. Do you glance at the camera image and then turn around for a wider direct field of view, or do you just use the camera's narrow view, or do you have a camera with a wider field of view?

    The problem I've described is compounded here in the United States by a lot of people having light trucks (a.k.a. SUVs) rather than cars for personal everyday use. These are often so big that in a parking lot they completely hide whether the next space is empty or has a car or smaller SUV in it until you are almost past.

    I think an effective system would need three cameras - one pointing back and one on each outboard corner - so that as soon as you back the car up a little bit you get a view on either side. So for 2014 that'd probably mean around 50 million imaging chips.

    I actually don't foresee a lot of revenue from this since the chips don't need high resolution and speed and wouldn't need to be particularly small or power-efficient. The added value would probably be in automated detection software, and that's what retailers could successfully pitch to the mass affluent who'd be buying new cars.

    A challenge, though, would be building cameras that are robust enough to withstand 4 or 5 years' use in the varied challenging climates here in the US and still function when the cars reach the second-hand market that a lot (the majority even) of American families with children use.

  11. CDM said:
    > I think an effective system would need three
    > cameras - one pointing back and one on each
    > outboard corner - so that as soon as you back
    > the car up a little bit you get a view on
    > either side

    With a very wide field of view lens, say 190deg, it is possible to get the three views you mention with one camera mounted at the very back of the car.

    Some image processing is needed to present the information to the driver in a useful fashion, but this is not that difficult.

    This scheme could also require more resolution in the sensor because of the interpolation required.

    Another requirement of the sensor that affects revenue is excellent low light performance, which can mean larger pixels.

  12. I think that a LED based illuminator can be used for this purpose. Why you need to back out your car in dark?

  13. The white light that turns on when you put your car in reverse provides enough light to see nearby obstacles without a high-performance sensor. For all practical purposes, information about the background (not illuminated) is not useful anyway.

  14. I Think that a HDR sensor is needed in this application.

  15. This is already a regulation in Japan since several years for trucks, busses, small vans and some other vehicles but actually provided on almost all vehicles.

    It is a relatively easy application that helps a lot and will have a great future.

    For cost reasons and because of blooming due to surrounding lights sources at night, cheap CMOS sensors are already used a lot and will probably represent 100% of this market in the future.

    More difficult but also getting more common are some image processing applications related to blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, night vision.

  16. An even appealing application is to equip cameras in the front and rear to record accidents. Auto insurance companies would be glad to reduce your premium if you have this system.


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