In the past few decades, we’ve become familiar with the sight of cameras everywhere. They used to be a special-purpose device, used for taking photographs or film, and only taken somewhere to be specifically used for that purpose. Now they inhabit all corners of our lives – they’re in our phones, our computers, in shops for surveillance and security, on the corners of streets to monitor traffic. And despite the fearmongering about totalitarian surveillance states, these cameras have by and large proved themselves useful. Traffic cameras have reduced road accidents. Phone cameras have proved extremely convenient. And there’s one more area in which cameras are becoming increasingly common – and useful – inside our cars, in the form of rear vision cameras.
In this form, the camera does the job that has conventionally been performed by the rear view mirror, a fiddly thing that often forces drivers to make a rough guess about how far away an object really is, or risk being blinded by a reflected bright light in the middle of the night (if there’s any light to see by at all). The reversing camera doesn’t have these sorts of problems. It shows what’s behind you to an accurate scale, in real time, and presents that scale on a little screen so you can easily gauge distances. It also functions just as well by day and by night, meaning that you don’t have to worry about light levels.
Another advantage of rear vision systems is that you can easily attach them to larger vehicles – trucks, motor homes, even trailers like caravans. In times gone by, such vehicles would have been much more dangerous and difficult to drive with, as they would block your view of the road behind you – with a caravan rear vision system, driving a motor home or similar vehicle is easier than ever.