New 12-Volt Category…

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It doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, but advanced driver safety products may become a new growth area in car electronics, especially as the nation focuses on texting-while-driving accidents.
Mobileye, maker of an $899 advanced crash warning system that can protect drivers from texting themselves into an accident, says it expects to get nationwide distribution in consumer electronics stores by the end of the year. Car Toys said it is considering carrying the Mobileye product called the C2-170, joining Al & Ed’s Autosound, which stocks the product.
Mobileye’s system beeps and flashes if you are closing in on a car in front of you too fast as shown here –scroll to 1:30 minutes near the end.

Driver safety products can include lane departure warning systems, self-parking systems, blind spot detection; night vision systems, etc. They are getting more press lately and have been featured in TV ads from car makers including Ford and BMW.
But while the products are catching on in new cars and fleets, they have fallen flat in the aftermarket to date. Mobileye CEO Skip Kinford blames some of that on the recession and says the tide will turn this year. Al & Ed’s product manager John Haynes also says sales have been slow but claims, “We look at this category and this product specifically, as being the type of product that can literally explode on the marketplace. Consumers are interested in safety products; this has been shown over and over again in various surveys. For the mobile electronics industry to survive, it’s imperative that we keep bringing to market products that will cause consumers to want to make a change in their car.”
Kinford also says the recent attention to texting while driving will help boost sales for the products. And the strong sales in fleet and OEM sales will support the aftermarket.
Also, advanced driver safety products are creeping down the price scale in new cars, which is helping to raise awareness of the features.
Alpine demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, a bird’s-eye-view advanced parking system that lets you see a full 360 degree panorama when you park or back up the vehicle so you don’t hit the sidewalk or another car. Current back up camera systems give only a 180 degree view.
Alpine’s system uses four cameras placed on the front and rear and both sides of the car. (It’s not slated for the market this year.)
Both Mobileye and Nav-TV will add pedestrian detection to their driver safety lines by the end of the year (NAV-TV sells an aftermarket night vision system) and Alpine may also enter the market with an advanced parking system.
NAV-TV says it will likely add pedestrian detection in the fourth quarter to its $2,745 PathFindIR Night Vision system. When a pedestrian is detected, the users’ car screen or monitor will show a triangle around the pedestrian as an alert.
NAV-TV, says it has sold thousands of its night vision cameras than can be added to the factory screen in the dashboard. It provides visibility about five times farther than headlights for a 1,500 foot view down the road despite the dark.
NAV-TV also expects to release in the fourth quarter a speed limit device for cars. The black box add-on permits users to control the maximum speed of the car, useful if you have teen drivers at home. It works off the RFID encoder on a car key so you can set a particular key—the one you might give your teenager—to a certain speed cap. No system price has been set but a price between $299 and $499 is likely, said the company.
Mobileye will also add pedestrian detection to the C2-170 Combo Crash Warning/Lane Departure Warning System in the second quarter. The system will also detect motorcycles and bicycles.

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3 Comments

  1. Good article. Interesting to hear what some of these companies will be introducing soon, and you’re right that these applications have the potential to really explode in the aftermarket… but right now, they’re really suffering from a lack of awareness on the part of consumers, and that needs to be fixed if they hope to have any presence in the aftermarket.

    “Current back up camera systems give only a 180 degree view.” Not true however. Infiniti and Nissan both offer a 360-degree view parking assist system in some markets as a factory option, and I’m pretty sure other OEMs do as well.

  2. I have a mobileye system I was skeptical at first but I was driving home one day and a car stopped abruptly in front of me and my mobileye system alerted me and it saved me thousands in damages for my car and probably mentally and physically.

  3. I have a mobileye collision prevention system in my car and I just wanted to say that it does what it is supposed to do, warns you only when necessary. I was a bit skeptical at the begining but now I would not go on the road without my mobileye system.

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