Automated reverse parking might be the THING but it’ll take a few years to arrive into budget cars. Until then, reversing a car will be a part and parcel of driving, like it or not. Having said that, a little guidance in getting in or out of tight spaces is certainly helpful, given how crowded the roads (and parking spaces more so) have become. We look at which of two safety and convenience devices – reverse parking sensors or the reverse camera – makes more sense.
According to a survey conducted by IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), reverse cameras turned out to be the more useful (low crash rate, too) than parking sensors and both combined. While parking sensors have the disadvantage of not being successful always, having both of them installed isn’t the best way out, either – users were found to ignore the sensors when looking at the screen. The low range covered by parking sensors is another negative, which becomes a problem if you’re slow to react.
Reverse parking camera, albeit slightly more expensive, is a more usable alternative, especially when there are moving obstacles. What really works in the tech’s favour is that it widens the area of view for the driver.
Combining the two can prove to be the best way out unless you (as a lot of others) refrain from relying just on the camera alone. With that in place, the combination will surely detect objects that might not be in the camera’s field of view, while the camera can take care of showing you the moving ones.
Since this all is going to be a slow speed affair, we are more concerned about the accuracy here. If a system doesn’t detect an obstacle, moving or stationary, it fails its purpose. Advanced systems like the one found in premium cars, that give a bird’s eye view of the car, are certainly the most helpful. However, multiple cameras and sensors ensure that the whole system costs considerably more than just a set of sensors and a display.
What is the best option at present?
If your car is equipped with both sensors and reverse camera, use that, but relying solely on the camera is as good as just having the camera installed. These systems are meant to help, so if you don’t look back or use the mirrors, they are bound to fail.
Among the current set of technologies, the cameras work the best. Inexpensive systems don’t have multiple cameras, so you need to keep that in mind and rely on something else, and that’s where the sensors become all the more useful.
The presence of small displays fitted inside the interior rear view mirror is another, very popular option that has found its way into a lot of cars. The large two-in-one displays that double up as a screen for infotainment system but use a camera to show what’s behind aren’t worth the time and money, though.
With added tech in cars, the future looks very bright indeed. Look at the upcoming BMW 7-Series for example. The vehicle comes with gesture tech, so you don’t necessarily have to touch or push any buttons to interact with the system. What really stands out here is that the virtual/created with the help of a multiple cameras view doesn’t offer a bird’s eye view alone. You can use gestures and look around the car if there are any obstacles, without having to leave the driver’s seat. As can be seen in the video, it’s a bit slow, isn’t it?