Backup cameras used to be a premium feature, but that will change thanks to a federal mandate expected Feb. 29.
If it goes through, the little screens that keep drivers from backing into objects will be required on all new US vehicles. The move is meant to cut down on the current death and injury statistics for backup accidents which account for 292 deaths and 3,000 serious injuries per year, according to federal statistics.
Aside from mandating the camera’s general implementation, it seems that such technology is likely be be standardized to require a 10-foot wide by 20-foot deep field of vision.
While back-up cams like the one in the Kia Sorento (above) and the annoying sonar-like beeping feature to prevent you from swapping paint with your neighbor are probably less than exciting for most drivers, there is a silver lining to the new rule.
If automakers are forced to start sticking screens into every dashboard, it’s likely that more new cars will have an infotainment system. Such technology is already finding its way into a growing list of cars, but its easy to imagine the champagne might already be flowing for companies who supply manufacturers with this equipment, after all what’s better than having an extremely inelastic good for sale?
Product manufacturers are probably giggling with glee, but consumers are probably feeling a little burned by an extra cost being forced into their next new car purchase. How much will this new requirement cost you?
That will ultimately depend on the manufacturer, but we’re betting it’s not going to be a big deal, at least as far as the budget compact segment is concerned.
Luxury automakers always find ways to charge more for their features and to be fair you often get a better product. It’s fair to assume, however, that individual unit costs will shrink as unit production goes up. Right now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that it costs about $200 to install a video system and back up camera into a car.
It’s the same as buying breakfast cereal at Costco: things are cheaper in greater volume. Beyond that, it’s up to the manufacturer to decide how much of the additional cost it will bear and what portion to pass on.