Special Coverage

Ward’s Auto Interiors Show

Lots of vehicles today have backup cameras and warning sensors, but Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.’s new Around View Monitor is so good we just had to single it out for a special award: Best Electronic Innovation.

Debuting in North America on the new Infiniti EX35, the AVM uses small front, side and rear-mounted cameras to project an all-around view of potential objects on every side of the vehicle, virtually eliminating blind spots when parking.

Four ultrawide-angle, high-resolution cameras provide the driver several different views on a split screen display: a view from above on the left and a front or rear view on the right. The front and rear views alternate in concert with the gearshift position.

The left side-view is offered with the rear view, allowing the driver to see both the rear and left-front when attempting to parallel park. The driver also has the option to choose between the top view and the left-side view.

Camera-enabled sensors mounted on all four corners of the vehicle depict the distance to an obstacle by superimposing easy to interpret lines on the video image to indicate the best path. For added measure, the sensors also provide beeping alerts to indicate proximity levels as well.

The best sonar-type systems that beep or provide colored displays to indicate proximity to solid objects seem crude in comparison with Nissan’s four-camera system, which we hope someday will become the standard in all vehicles.

This is one electronic system that – for once – is practical, simple to use and works extremely well. And for that we just have to name it the best electronic innovation of the year.