Old Car, New Tech

The New Backup Camera — Only a License Plate and an App


June 23, 2016 Tech : Apps By
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Backup cameras do a lot more than help maneuver tight parking spaces or alert you when you’re about to ram into a garbage bin at the end of a driveway. They make driving safer for both passengers and pedestrians, and the feds agree: by May 2018, all new cars will need to come standard with a backup camera, per a ruling from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But what about all the older cars that don’t have a backup camera? On Tuesday, three former Apple lead developers announced that their company, Pearl Automation, has an answer.

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RearVision is a backup camera designed to be installed by anyone, on nearly any car — all you need is a screwdriver and a smartphone. Here’s how it works: a license plate frame with two HD cameras at the top, powered by a tiny solar panel at the base, screws onto your license plate. A small adapter plugs into a port under your steering wheel, which then connects your iPhone with the RearVision backup camera via Bluetooth or wi-fi. The RearVision app displays full-screen or split-screen views — normal, super-wide or both — which can be panned and zoomed around tricky corners with the swipe of a finger. If you’re backing up a bit too close to an object, the app sends visual alerts; however, it doesn’t yet predict tire paths like many other backup cameras do. But, according to Pearl Automation, that’s a feature that can be added later with a simple update to the app.

The RearVision is now accepting pre-orders, and is expected to release this September.

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