Driver assistance systems like a 360-degree parking camera are invaluable in tight spaces.When most of us find ourselves in a tight parking spot, how we wish for an all-around camera to guide us into our lot.
Thankfully, manufacturers have heard our cries and are fitting 360-degree camera systems into more cars.
What are 360-degree parking cameras?
Essentially, these systems help with manoeuvring and parking in tight spaces.
They also help if you’re driving a large car like the Audi Q8.
Most systems use four cameras, positioned strategically around the car.
In most cases, a camera can be found inside the car’s front grille, above the rear license plate, and one each under the wing mirror housing.
Depending on the manufacturer, you can either select to view one camera’s video feed or stitch all together for a 360-degree bird’s eye view of your surroundings.
That makes this feature invaluable when you’re backing into a tight space and can’t see what’s below your window.
How do such systems work?
Manufacturers have different names for their systems.
This tech isn’t limited to the Germans: Nissan Motor Corporation also has the Around View Monitor, fitted to its Nissan and Infiniti-branded vehicles.
The premise behind 360-degree parking cameras is simple yet effective.
Upon engaging reverse, the system switches on all four cameras around the car.
The video feed from all four cameras is then stitched together in software to create an unbroken view of the vehicle’s exterior.
The end result, depending on how sophisticated the car’s software is, can even be manipulated.
Most vehicles will simply display the feed from all four cameras in a “flat” fashion, allowing the driver to look at their car as if from above.
If you’re navigating narrow carparks like those in Bukit Timah Shopping Centre and Shaw Centre, that is a lifesaver.
In Audi’s case, its Top View system goes one step further and allows the driver to swivel and zoom the image of the car.
The system also projects a view of the tyres, so the driver can pull up right to the kerb without kerbing the wheels.
My car doesn’t have parking cameras. Can I install them myself?
Short answer: yes. There are aftermarket systems which give you that essential 360 view when parking.
However, we can’t speak to their effectiveness as we haven’t tested many such third-party 360-degree camera systems.
If you wish to install one, consult your mechanic or dealer.
For those who drive cars already fitted with such advanced systems, make more use of them!