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Automakers Offer Plenty of Cameras for Selfie Generation

Spate of cameras aimed at improving vehicle safety.

by on Apr.08, 2015

Honda's HR-V-SLF, also known as the "Selfie," was an April Fool's Day ruse, but makers are using cameras more often to improve vehicle safety.

It seems like a perfect fit for “selfie” fixated Millennials. Earlier this month, Honda announced plans for a special version of its new compact crossover-utility vehicle.

“Honda develops cutting-edge, selfie technology to engage younger buyers,” a news release blared. The Honda HR-V SLF, the Japanese maker explained, is “Equipped with 10 different ‘selfie’ cameras inside and outside the vehicle.”

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Sadly for some potential buyers, the release was an April Fool’s Day joke. But in today’s world, one has to question whether there just might not be a market for the “selfie.” And there is some truth to the parody. While you likely won’t see a mobile selfie camera anytime soon, automakers are rapidly ramping up the number of cameras they use in today’s vehicles, largely for safety reasons. (more…)

High-tech Rapidly Migrating from Luxury to Mainstream

Lane departure warning soon to generate $14 bil in sales.

by on Feb.23, 2011

Lane departure warning systems, once limited to luxury cars, will soon be a mainstream, $14 bil business, a new study suggests.

Maybe you’re looking for another radio station, or yelling at the kids in the back of your minivan, but suddenly, a loud beep-beep grabs your attention.  You’ve inadvertently begun to drift across the double yellow line – and your lane departure warning system has sounded a warning.

The technology, which uses an intelligent vision system, has become increasingly common on high-line products from makers like Infiniti, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.  Some luxury makers, such as Lexus, even allow the system to automatically a car back into its lane.

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Now, lane departure warning systems are following the path of other high-tech safety hardware, migrating downward into more mainstream offerings, notes a new study by ABI Research, which predicts that by 2016, lane departure warning technology could be a $14.3 billion line of business.

For 2011, the technology will migrate from models like the big Mercedes S-Class into the maker’s less-expensive C-Class.  But Ford will begin offering a lane departure warning system in the decidedly mainstream 2011 Focus.

That fits the maker’s policy, which global marketing chief Jim Farley calls “democratizing technology.”

(more…)