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How Does the 360 Degree Camera in a Car Work? – MUO – MakeUseOf





Most recently built cars have a 360-degree camera, but how does it see all the way around your car? Also, can you install one on an older car?
Ever tried parking your car in a tight parking spot and ended up having a fender bender? Cars are getting bigger every year. SUVs and full-size sedans are gaining more popularity, and bigger cars require a lot of courage to park in tight spots. This is where parking assists come in.
Particularly useful is the 360-degree camera, which gives you a clear view of your car. But, how does the 360-degree camera in a car actually work?
Parking assists aren't entirely new. With every new generation of cars, new park assist systems show up. It started with quirky assists such as the fifth wheel parking back in the 1930s, and now in the twenty-first century, you've got park assists that use the latest technologies such as ultrasonic sensors and, of course, 360-degree cameras.
A federal regulation law went into effect in 2018 that required all new vehicles to be equipped with rear cameras and video displays. Some car manufacturers decided to put in some extra effort to add a couple of extra cameras to give their consumers a 360-degree view. Easier parking makes for an easier life.
Different manufacturers have come up with different names for this technology. Bird's eye view, surround view, top view, and such. But, in the end, they're all more or less the same underneath.
A 360-degree view system uses an array of images received from multiple cameras placed all around the car. These cameras are installed in strategic points on the car to give a wide view and cover blind spots. These points are usually the front grille, under the side mirrors, and the rear end of your car.
The real stuff happens within the car's computer, where these separate images are transformed into a single 360-degree image. The software in your car's computer takes these images from the different cameras and runs a series of processes to put them together. It removes the distortion caused by the wide lens, cuts out the overlapping bits of the images, and stitches the images together to give you a crystal clear view of your car's surroundings.
Ultimately, the software displays a view of your car's surroundings with a graphic of your car and gridlines. Now you can effortlessly decide if you've steered enough or if you need to steer a bit more to get into that parking spot.
Related: DIY Arduino Projects to Upgrade Your Car
The 360-degree image on its own might not be perfectly accurate, but the collaboration with proximity sensors and the ability to switch between different cameras for different views will smooth it out and cover for all blind spots, making parking easier.
There are a variety of aftermarket 360-degree camera kits available that you can buy and install on your car. These kits include a bunch of cameras and a controller to connect the cameras to your car's infotainment system.
When it comes to quality and accuracy, don't expect aftermarket 360-degree cameras to be as good as the factory ones. The factory 360-degree cameras are designed for that specific car, accounting for the car's dimensions and other sensors, and have been tested on the car by the manufacturer.
Though aftermarket 360-degree cameras are a bit tough to install and aren't as accurate as the factory ones, they're still definitely better than no camera at all. Mirrors just don't do the trick anymore.
Related: The Best Dashcams for Your Car
The 360-degree view system is a driving assist feature that lets you get a better view of your surroundings and the blind spots that you would usually miss in the old-school mirrors. This system helps you avoid bothersome parking accidents, and hence it helps you save money and time.
Other than helping you park, cameras can also give your car some extra security. You might want to consider installing some extra cameras on your car's dash.
Amir is a pharmacy student with a passion for tech and gaming. He likes playing music, driving cars, and writing words.
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