Nissan to offer drivers virtual bird's eye view

Parallel parking is about to get a lot easier thanks to some advanced technology to be embedded in forthcoming vehicles from Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.

The Japanese auto maker will begin offering its "Around View Monitor" system in models of its "Elgrand" in Japan from this month and in the "Infiniti EX35" in the U.S. from December.

The system uses four small video cameras with wide-angle lenses to display a virtual bird's-eye view of the car and what's around it. Two cameras are mounted on the underside of the wing mirrors, one at the front under the grill and one at the rear under the license plate.

Video from each of the cameras is combined and displayed on the navigation system monitor so that it appears to be a view from above of the car and its surroundings. In addition to the cameras there are also sonar sensors at each corner of the vehicle that provide an audible warning when it is coming close to an object or person.

In August this year Nissan demonstrated the technology during an open day at its Yokosuka research and development center. It was much easier than normal to park a demo vehicle with the technology installed. In addition to providing an all-round view, the system also projected the car's future course based on the current direction of the wheels so it was easy to park in a small space.

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