16 November 2007
They put cameras in cell phones, cameras on buildings and traffic lights, and now they put cameras on every corner of your car. Nissan has just announced the introduction of its Around View Monitor system, which goes beyond the typical back-up camera by providing a 360-degree view of the vehicle's surroundings - achieved by the use of no less than four cameras. Although this might seem a fad for the Japanese market, in fact it will be introduced in North America as well, in the Infiniti EX-35.
But don't expect that to become the norm everywhere quite yet. Helena Perslow, market analyst at IMS Research, says that the introduction to the North American market of this type of camera system is an extreme case. "My research indicates that the implementation of cameras in automotive is still quite limited, especially in North America. In 2006 only 16% of all automotive camera modules were found there, whereas that figure for Japan was 64%."
Cameras for park assist have been common in Japan for many years, whereas other technologies, such as ultrasonic, have been favoured in other regions, according to Perslow's newly-released research report, "The Worldwide Market for Automotive Camera Modules". The argument for using cameras has always been that they are more reliable than such alternatives as ultrasonic or radar. Now with safety applications being more of a focus than ever for European manufacturers, they also have started to choose cameras in favour of other approaches. Notes Perslow, "I expect a lot to happen with camera modules in the next few years. It's an emerging market - one forecast to grow by a factor of 10 from 2006 to 2015."
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