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All new cars will be required to have rear-view cameras by 2018


Announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) earlier today, all new automobiles manufactured on or after May 1, 2018 will be required to include rear-view cameras for increased visibility. While the ruling is specific to vehicles under 10,000 pounds, that also includes all trucks as buses with the 2019 model year. Rear-view cameras mounted on the back of new vehicles will need to display a 10-foot by 20-foot field of view on a digital screen located on the dashboard of the vehicle.

This mandate was driven by the fact that an average of 210 people are killed each year in the United States by ‘backover crashes’ in addition to causing an average of 15,000 injuries. Even worse, nearly a third of the fatalities are young children under the age of five. On the opposite end of the age spectrum, approximately one fourth of the fatalities are older adults at least 70 years of age.

Speaking about the ruling, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx commented “Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of backover accidents — our children and seniors. As a father, I can only imagine how heart wrenching these types of accidents can be for families, but we hope that today’s rule will serve as a significant step toward reducing these tragic accidents.”


This legislation has been delayed multiple times over the years, but was pushed through with greater ease this year since multiple automobile manufacturers have already started integrating camera technology into base models as a popular selling feature. In addition to increasing safety when backing up, the cameras are also being promoted to reduce the stress of parallel parking or driving a car out of a tight parking spot.  

According to USA Today, the manufacturer cost of installing a rear-review camera in a new car is about $140 and the cost to add a camera to an existing, compatible display system is no more than $45. In addition, the NHTSA believes that nearly three fourths of automobiles will have the rear-view cameras installed within the next four years. 

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Mike Flacy
By day, I'm the content and social media manager for High-Def Digest, Steve's Digicams and The CheckOut on Ben's Bargains…
Just got a cool new app for your car? Yeah, the NHTSA might not let you use it
nhtsa proposes in car smartphone guidelines texting while driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says it has the power to regulate mobile devices used in cars.
Earlier this year, the government agency that regulates driving safety issued voluntary guidelines for carmakers to prevent distracted driving. Now, it may do the same for manufacturers of smartphones and other devices.
In a congressional hearing, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland says the agency believes the Motor Vehicle Safety Act gives it the authority to regulate devices used in cars.
The NHTSA's initial set of voluntary guidelines covered in-vehicle infotainment systems and were designed to curtail distracted driving by limiting what features a driver could use while the vehicle is in motion, setting performance targets that minimized the amount of time a driver needed to perform different functions. However, carmakers aren't obligated to follow them.
A set of guidelines for smartphones could be drafted along the same lines.
Strickland told the Detroit News that the NHTSA has the authority to regulate phone-based navigation, and any other apps that could be "reasonably expected" to be used in a vehicle.
He said the agency's ultimate goal is to foster technology that would allow vehicles to block hand-held phone use, requiring drivers to use a hands-free interface like Bluetooth.
Carmakers reportedly support restricting phone use, which is their stated reason for developing infotainment systems like MyFord Touch, Cadillac's CUE, and Audi's MMI.
None of these systems have generated rave reviews and many have inspired the ire of frustrated consumers and journalists. However, automakers maintain that these combinations of touchscreen, voice, and click-wheel interfaces are safer than hand-held phones and that drivers will inevitably reach for their phones in the absence of other options.
Clearly, there's a lot of energy being exerted to get drivers to put down their phones. So why don't drivers just put down their phones? It would be a lot simpler than drafting new regulations, or developing new technologies, to stop them.

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Car making a weird noise? New portable ‘sound camera’ can help spot the cause

Every car owner has dealt with a mystery noise. Whether its a rattle deep within the bowels of the dashboard or a phantasmic shriek from the engine compartment, they can be quite vexing.
Luckily, science has an answer. The SeeSV-S205 is an acoustic imager that lets you actually see sounds, and where they’re coming from.
Identifying the source of a sound that could be buried amongst a car’s thousands of moving, vibrating parts can be difficult with the naked ear, but the SeeSV-S205 acts as a “sound camera” to pinpoint them.
The pentagonal device may look like a prop from Star Trek, but it’s full of microphones that pick up the distribution of sound, in the same way thermal imaging sensors pick up the distribution of heat to paint a picture in low visibility conditions.
Normally, this requires an array of individual microphones, but the SeeSV-S205 puts everything in one device. It contains 30 microphones arranged in a spiral shape.
The result is a colored image not unlike that of the aforementioned thermal imaging camera, with sound intensity registered on a scale of violet to red, with red being the loudest.
With its wireless, ergonomic design and relatively light (four-pound) weight, the SeeSV-S205 could easily be used to troubleshoot a car’s mechanical maladies. So far, no pricing information has been announced.
Knowing exactly where a sound is coming from can narrow the detective work down to a specific component or component set. The more knowledge, the better.

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Debate over rear-view car camera mandate continues, please put on your seat belt

The ongoing debate over whether all new cars should be required to have rear-view cameras will pick up in the nation’s capital this week.
According to the Detroit News, Reps. Peter King (R—NY) and Jan Schakowsky (D-ILL) will join a group of parents at a press conference Thursday to urge the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to finalize regulation that’s been delayed since 2011.
The legislation, which has been delayed four times, was approved by Congress in 2007 and signed into law by President George W. Bush requiring the federal government to establish some rules around the law by Feb. 28, 2011.  Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, however, has reportedly been delaying the rule.
In December of 2010, NHTSA proposed new rules that would require all carmakers to install back-up cameras in all new vehicles by 2014. But now the implementation process is in limbo.
 NHTSA Administrator David Strickland says there are a number of things to consider before mandating the legislation, which would reportedly cost the auto industry $1.9 billion to $2.7 billion annually.
“We are still working through a number of issues,” Strickland is reported as telling the Detroit News. “It’s a very important rule for the department…We want to make sure we get it right.”
The Detroit News article goes on to report that NHTSA notes that about 100 children age 5 or under die annually in backup crashes and "there are strong reasons... to prevent these deaths."
It’s hard to argue against mandating any technology that can help saves lives – especially when it comes to children.  However, the issue does beg the question what- if any - impact a back-up camera mandate could have in the future on other car safety technology features, which can help save lives as well.
Years down the road, could we find ourselves debating whether mandates should be applied to car features like side mirror blind spot detection or night vision technology? The argument echoes a past debate over a similar safety feature we now take for granted: seat belts.
What do you think? Should all new vehicles be required to have rear-view cameras − and what if any other safety technology features should be mandated for new cars?  Leave a comment below.

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