Backup Cameras and Sensors

How does it work?

This terminology refers to a group of technologies that relate to the use of cameras, sensors and other devices such as assistance for driving, parking or other driving needs. Rear backup cameras, cornering speed warning, drowsiness alert, bicycle detection, and others may be included. Throughout this section, technology related to cameras will be addressed, since these have a more widespread use.

Reversing cameras would likely be useful for drivers of passenger or commuter vans who often exit in reverse out of a driveway, or for urban drivers who frequently parallel park. They would be especially useful for older drivers, who often lack the flexibility to turn and check the blind spot.

There are several different versions of backup camera systems. Some systems simply provide a rear-view of the vehicle, while others combine this view with a sensor that warns if an object is detected too close to the rear of the vehicle with an audible alarm. Some systems will even apply the brakes automatically to avoid a potential collision.

Since May 2018, all new vehicles sold in Canada weighing 4536 kg (10 000 pounds) or less must be fitted with a backup camera (Transport Canada).

Multimedia screen in automobile


  • Conceptually, reversing cameras could be expected to be beneficial for drivers with physical limitations (such as the inability to turn their head enough to look over their shoulder) that make it difficult to look behind their car. This usually becomes a larger problem as drivers age.
  • Reversing cameras are now available on all new personal vehicles (since May 2018) on the market today. Older cars can be retrofitted with a back-up camera using external systems.
  • It makes it much easier to monitor a hard-to-see area around the vehicle and, as a result, take corrective action.


  • Requires constant attention from the driver, who must make decisions based not only on what was observed in the camera as well as warnings from the sensors but also the total surroundings of the vehicle.
  • Conditions such as rain, darkness, glare and/or dirt on the camera lens could hinder visibility.
  • Different systems can have different fields of view and induce different amounts of optical distortion in the rear-view image.

Common names

  • 360° surround camera
  • 360-degree camera
  • 360-degree surround view camera system
  • 360º surround view camera
  • 360º view monitor
  • Advanced multi-view monitor
  • Bird’s eye view camera
  • Smart view monitor around
  • Multi-terrain monitor
  • Multi-view camera
  • Multi-view camera system
  • Top view camera (area view)
  • Surround view
  • Surround view camera system
  • Surround view monitor
  • Surround view system
  • Surround view w/ 3D view
  • Top View camera system
  • Wide front view and side monitor

Latest Publications on PubMed

Search results for: parking sensor

  • Effects of Technology on Drivers' Behavior during Backing Maneuvers
    by Yasuhiro Matsui on February 26, 2021 at 11:00 am

    This paper examines how vehicle backing technologies affect driver performance during backing maneuvers. We conducted experiments using sport utility vehicles (SUV) with four technological variations: a baseline vehicle (B-L), a vehicle equipped with a parking sensor (PS-V), a vehicle equipped with a backup camera (hereafter BC-V), and a vehicle equipped with both technologies (BCPS-V). Two reverse parking maneuvers were tested: backing straight and backing diagonally into a parking space. For...

  • Relationship between pedestrian detection specifications of parking sensor and potential safety benefits
    by Kazunori Kikuchi on December 28, 2020 at 11:00 am

    Measures to protect vulnerable road users during low-speed maneuvers are required. For example, systems that use cameras to display the vehicle's rearview are popular. However, some vehicles are difficult to equip with a rear view camera system. To avoid a crash when driving in reverse, it is also effective to identify the presence of pedestrians via an audible warning using a device (e.g., clearance sonar). It may be cheaper to install than a rearview camera system. Installation cost is also...

  • Pedestrian Detection During Vehicle Backing Maneuvers Using Ultrasonic Parking Sensors
    by Yasuhiro Matsui on April 21, 2020 at 10:00 am

    Ultrasonic parking sensors are an active technology designed to alert drivers to the presence of objects behind their vehicle but not the presence of a human. The purpose of this study was therefore to ascertain if these sensor systems can successfully detect a human subject. We accordingly conducted experiments using four vehicles equipped with both rear-facing center and corner ultrasonic parking sensor systems to determine the detection distance between the vehicle and a 1-m tall, 75-mm...