A 360-degree camera is simply one that can see everything and which, when mounted on a car dash, works pretty ideally and is indisputably helpful in that regard. As far as spherical views are concerned, one can trust a 360-degree camera to capture everything, as long as you have them in the right position.
So, on the question regarding their relevance in a car, we will be showing you everything you need to know about how these cameras work and where to mount them on your car. A camera like this is a fair investment, especially when you’re looking at shooting inside your car (for models that support that) and have to struggle with conventional cameras to get that done.
360 cameras can not only be used for taking still images but can be used to shoot videos, and depending on the model and type you go for; you can expect something similar to what you get shooting with a conventional camera. Hence, in this post, we’re leaving you a review of the best 360 Camera for Car photography, types, cost and how does it works you can find too.
Can You Add a 360 Camera to a Car?
In the market are some unique aftermarket kits that permit the installation of a 360-degree camera on your vehicle. Typically, they come with several cameras and also include a controller that functions to link all the cameras to the infotainment screen of your car. Although aftermarket options offer a user a better view than what they can get from a reversing camera, they aren’t as efficient as system-installed options at the factory.
Auto engineers put a lot into making sure the cameras are well-positioned and also conceal them within the design of the car. Besides this, protecting them from the element is another top priority for them, as they, if exposed to the external harsh weather conditions, are prone to malfunction.
Having said this, much else doesn’t have to be said to point out that they are more fragile than normal cameras and so, even during installation, need to be handled very carefully.
Wondering if these cameras are even worth the hassle or if you can completely do away with the idea of getting one? Well, depending on the proficiency with which you handle parking areas and the road generally, you may need a 360 camera to ease your driving.
While some drivers are more skilled at parking than others, one thing we can’t deny is the pain that comes with curbed wheels and scuffed bumpers. To avoid such agony, you may have to opt for this camera, and even though they’re optional additions to most vehicles, on most, the peace of mind and convenience they provide are priceless.
Nonetheless, efficient parking sensors, a standard backup driving camera, or your ordinary skills at maneuvering into parking spaces can suffice in place of a 360-degree camera, especially when turning on the system takes some time or if the screen is displayed on is too small or grainy.
Here are some cars that feature a 360-degree camera:
- Audi: Virtual 360 view embedded in a top view camera system
- BMW: Surround View with 3D display
- Hyundai: Surround View Monitor
- Ford: 360-degree camera
- Infiniti: Around View Monitor
- Kia: Surround View Monitor
- Land-Rover: 360-degree Parking aid Grid; ClearView
- Mercedes Benz: Surround View System
- Nissan: Around View System
- Volkswagen: Overhead View Camera
- Volvo: 360 Degree Surround View
Best 360-degree camera for a car?
Being that aftermarket products like this are still relatively new, it isn’t uncommon to find not-so-efficient models of it. To find a high-performing 360-degree camera with great image quality and resolution, you have to look beyond what’s scattered across the internet, pop-up ads advertising retail brands of it, and just anything you see on e-commerce stores.
For this reason, we have, after a very careful evaluation of products in the top spots, picked one with a very high rating performance and customer product reviews that support that.
Type S 360 Smart Dash Camera
- Weighs 2.59 pounds
- Wireless display
- App-based control method
- LCD display
- G-sensor surveillance
Why this product stands distinctly apart from other 360 cameras is that while many offer you the ability to peel into what’s going on outside your car, Type S takes one step further to a 360° recording system to keep abreast of the ongoing in the front of your vehicle and also inside the car. This dual optics is exceedingly innovative and will serve the wholesome idea of what a 360-degree camera is all about.
More fascinating is that this video recording has an amazing resolution of 1080 full HD. The camera also crosses boundaries and pitches its utility across a wide range of driving modes, including taxis and rideshare.
Also, in case of an accident or any other emergency that may play out in front of you, you’re able to retain crystal clear evidence of that. Taxi drivers can also find this helpful in resolving passenger conflict in case one breaks out, as there’s playback for you to present in front of a legal gathering.
The product also comes with an instant Livestream mode, as the app allows you to stream whenever it is caught on the camera directly to the user’s social media pages. This is a lot of technological upgrade and relief to content creators and other individuals in the business of shooting on the road.
Additionally, the camera features a built-in microphone that allows you to record your voice and not just that but the sounds coming from the road in undiluted clarity, providing your audience with the complete experience.
In addition to the excellent 6 recording modes built into this camera, it also has an extra VR recording ability, and the content recorded with this mode provides the viewer with a firsthand experience of the ride in Virtual Reality.
With the camera’s enhanced night vision feature, keeping a record of a situation like ascendant that usually happens in the dark has become especially necessary. The camera works such that soon as it detects a low-light environment, the camera unleashes its smart night vision surveillance and starts recording all the action in full HD.
Featuring a Park and Record Mode, with this 360-degree camera, you’re under 24-hour surveillance, and its G-sensor technology is more than useful in automatically capturing and saving 10 seconds of video before and after incidents like hard brake or in scenarios where a break-in is noticed, keeping secure footage, independent of power disconnection.
How much does a 360-degree camera cost for a car?
Depending on the brand you’re going for and the features the camera comes with, an aftermarket 360-degree camera can go for any price between $110-$500 without the labor cost included.
Certain features that may affect the price of a 360-degree camera include resolution, size of LCD, supported recording and live streams, waterproofing ability, and other perks.
How does a 360-degree camera work on a car?
With automotive technology advancements, smart technologies like the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) have gone mainstream.
Electronic gadgetry like ADAS is highly sophisticated and impressive in all its performance. As ADAS today brings on board solutions for traffic sign recognition, pedestrian avoidance, blind spot detection, and much more, it was inevitable for a system like the 360 camera to be born.
This swanky modern piece of vehicle technology can turn a user into a driving and parking pro, as one of the brightest advantages is the ease with which a user can drive and park while avoiding contact or crashing into a nearby obstruction astutely.
While this might seem like some magic, it’s just a set of output camera sensors and processors working together with a spice of data science. Let’s look at its components first:
Usually, about 4-6 cameras that have wide-angle lenses are integrated into the vehicle’s body panel. Typically, these cameras are mounted on the front grille, beneath the rearview mirrors on each side of the vehicle and the vehicle’s tail.
Proximity sensors assist in the evaluation of the distance of objects that seem nearby. They are ultrasound and electromagnetic systems that send signals to nearby objects, and the time taken for these signals to be reflected is a measure of the actual distance between the car and the vehicle.
Image processing software
The data that the camera has documented is now relayed to software called the image processing module, which now takes the single images and pieces them together to create a cohesive and coherent view of the car and what surrounds it.
Hardware for display
The image captured and sent to the processing software is now projected on a Human Machine Interface, which in the case of vehicles, is an infotainment screen. Feedback mechanisms, for instance, an audio alert, are also untitled in the surround view camera to keep the driver aware of nearby objects.
So having elucidated the various components and systems involved in the functioning of a 360-degree camera, how does the image processor create composite images?
Synthesis of composite views and geometric and photometric alignments are some of the algorithms employed in creating composite images in 360 cameras. The geometric alignment works with processes like lens distortion correction and correction of perspectives too.
For photometric alignment, the color and brightness are matched by each of the camera views to allow the final image to look like it’s been captured by a single camera. Image stitching takes place precisely in the processing of the composite view synthesis.
Image stitching which happens to happen at the final steps of the processing and is also the most important part, is split into the following:
This process involves the detection of important parts of an image and have them assigned to a ground plane. Custom pattern registration is the process commonly used in this camera system.
In this step, the yet undistorted image is contorted so that it can match some of the defined key points of the image. Techniques such as polynomial deformation and homography are performed for image contortion.
In this step, the blending and fusion of the individual images are done to obtain the final stitched image. Some commonly used algorithms for the blending procedure are feathering, multibrand blending, and 50% blending.
How long can a 360 camera record?
Most 360 car cameras that support video recording can keep recording for as long as they’re on. Since they use your vehicle as the source of power, keeping your vehicle on and turning them on to record will keep them on till you turn off your vehicle.
As long as the camera is functioning properly and is turned on, they keep going on and on. However, factors like recording quality, the camera’s SD size, and a few other factors can affect the duration of your recording. Worthy of state, though, is that if you’re doing a high-quality recording, expect your 360 camera to record for this long, approximately:
- 8GB – 50 minutes or more
- 16GB – 100 minutes or more
- 32GB – 200 minutes or more
Questions Pop Up In My Mind (FAQs)
How can footage on dash cam be viewed?
There are several options for viewing footage on your dash cam. This, however, depends on what kind of camera you have – Bluetooth or wifi-enabled.
Most of the cameras come with an ejectable SD card that can be removed and inserted into an SD card reader, enabling one to read the content using a computer. If the camera supports Bluetooth or wifi, then it can be connected to the internet, uploaded to the cloud, and read through your smartphone.
Can I install an aftermarket 360 camera on my car myself?
While anybody can carry out most electrical installation procedures by simply reading up on them or by, learning them briefly or applying intuition, it is always safe to involve an auto technician if you’re going to install a camera as fragile as a 360 camera. This keeps you from misapplying some of the components and, in the process, damaging them too.
Is there a difference between 360 and VR?
Even though most people use the term VR and 360 interchangeably, there are few vital distinctions. Virtual Reality is computer-generated content, while 360, on the other hand, are real-life views shot recorded by a wide angle lens, processed, and stitched together.
For autonomous vehicles, 360-degree cameras also referred to as bird’s eye views can constitute an integral component. Fortunately, the technology is no longer exclusive to luxury vehicles, and as more safety-related policies are made, a technology like this will become a norm.