I own two cars, both used, one a 2007 model and another one, a 2008 model. My 2007 model lacks a rear camera and I am used to having a rear camera from my previous cars. So I have been looking around for some off the shelf solutions to this and believe me when I say that there is no one solution that solves this problem without causing me to go bankrupt. All these DIY options available are too time consuming to set up and even after setting up, their integration is flaky at best. The ready made solutions offered by big box dealers like Best Buy and others are too expensive. I use a used car for a reason people, to save money!
So Apple, well indirectly... some former Apple employees have teamed up (the name of the startup is Pearl) to launch an interesting product to solve this problem and The Verge has some more details on this, here. The initial look of this product really promising.
- The cameras are set up on a number plate holder that can be easily set up with a couple of screws.
- The cameras communicate wirelessly to your smartphones via bluetooth.
- They do not need batteries or anything, they are solar powered and the their charging capacities are more than adequate (unless you plan on shooting a short film or something using your rear view camera!)
- The processing unit that integrates the camera and the car is compact and connects to your OBD port.
- The price point of $500 is not too exorbitant to start with (hoping it will eventually come down).
However some qualms and questions I have about this product are...
- Getting the rear view displayed on the smartphone is ok, but can we rig it to get it to display on the cars on board display, somehow or sometime in the future?
- Though there are a lot of used cars in the market, as the report itself specifies, all cars will be mandated to have an integrated rear view camera by 2010, so what will happen to this company after a few years? (It matters if you need some sort of support for your $500 investment)