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OEMs, aftermarket getting the picture of enhanced in-vehicle visibility

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - 06:00
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Moving forward while looking back, automakers the world over are rolling out vehicles equipped with backup cameras displaying eye-opening innovations. The trend signals sales for aftermarket installations as owners of older vehicles desire similar systems, especially among aging baby boomers.

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Front-facing dashboard cameras – which have become popular in Russia where motorists tend to exhibit aggressive driving habits – are also in focus as an international do-it-yourselfer retail add-on. (Those compelling newsreel images of the giant meteor that exploded over Russia last February came courtesy of fortuitous dashcam shots.)

In May, VOXX Electronics Corp. began shipping its aftermarket In-Vehicle Dashboard Event Video Recorder that was introduced in January at the Consumer Electronics Show. The company has a footprint covering Europe, Asia, Mexico and South America in addition to the U.S.

“The DVR 700 is our first HD camera developed for dashboard recording of the events that occur in front of a moving vehicle,” reports VOXX President Tom Malone. “We expect it to be as successful as our ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) backup cameras that launched this category for us years ago. Drivers are coming to rely on technology to help them operate their vehicles with optimum safety and convenience, and we as leaders in the aftermarket category continue to provide those products.”

A compact configuration “allows almost stealth-like installation so as not to draw attention to the device,” Malone says. “The camera mounts on the windshield just behind the rearview mirror and records continuously so you can record interesting, fun experiences during your travels as well as any accidents or fender benders you may encounter,” he notes.

“Should you have an accident, G-sensors in the camera automatically lock the currently recorded section from 30 seconds prior to 2 minutes after the incident so that the key video segment cannot be erased or recorded over, thus giving you a permanent record of the event,” Malone says.

Rostra recently debuted its DashCam line of digital video capture systems that use a standard SD card for storage while recording on-road video images.

“Their compact form factor means they blend seamlessly into most vehicle dashboards and windshields while providing easy access to their many features, including video playback, starting and stopping recordings, and turning audio capture on or off,” according to Jim Pineau, president and CEO of Rostra parent-firm Aftermarket Controls Corp.

“The software suite included with each Dashboard Video Recording System,” he says, “provides a sophisticated means of extracting video to a personal computer for editing, as well as providing access to many other features including overlaying GPS coordinates onto a Google Map to view driving patterns, and viewing telemetry data such as in-car G-forces experienced while driving.”

Rostra also produces the RearSight series of backup cameras for cars, trucks and SUVs. “Today’s drivers are more safety conscious than ever,” says Pineau. “With the popularity of SUVs, trucks and larger vehicles, blind areas behind and beside the vehicle are an increasing problem. Sophisticated technology now makes it affordable for drivers to have an added dimension of safety.”

Pineau goes on to contend that this type of equipment “is sure to be one of the most desirable safety products in the aftermarket,” adding that the company’s car-oriented offerings are augmented by fitments that “provide the aftermarket with vehicle-specific kits for the most popular work trucks. Factory-style tailgate latch kits feature cameras that are discreetly mounted within the bezel of the tailgate latch handle.”

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