Car night vision systems were introduced in the year 2000 to enhance a driver's awareness and seeing distances while driving in darkness or in poor weather conditions. The system uses a thermographic camera that sees beyond the vehicle's headlights. These devices are offered only as options to buyers of premium vehicles, such as BMW, Mercedes and Audi. Let us find out how they are distinct in technology, features and prices.
1. BMW Night Vision System - introduced in 2005 on BMW 7 Series
The night vision system of BMW records images on the basis of body heat and the images produced are similar to that of a photo negative. This passive system uses CMOS-based (Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) sensor that picks up heat from animals or pedestrians and have it displayed as a bright image. It has a range of about 299 meters (980 feet) and can illuminate well what's directly in front of the car, although its clarity is less in quality compared to the Mercedes system.
In 2008, the Pedestrian Detection was added to the system, where a caution symbol would flash on the navigation screen when a pedestrian is detected. In 2013, the Dynamic Light Spot and the Animal Detection were also added, providing a video display of people, animals and other objects in real time and warning the driver of impending collision.
2. Mercedes Night Vision System - introduced in 2003 on Mercedes-Benz F500
This is an active system and uses NIR or near infrared technology that can produce clearer images in the absence of natural light. This system is the same as the night vision goggles of solders, it lights up everything just as the high beams do. They pick up the slightest traces of light and convert it into a clear image.
Its maximum range is 183 meters (less than 600ft.), which can be considered a drawback of the system. It also does not see through the dense conditions well, compared to the BMW system that can handle fog very well.
In 2009, a Pedestrian Detection Function was added to the system; and the Spotlight Function in 2011. The Animal Detection feature was added to the Mercedes NVS.
3. Audi Night Vision System - introduced in 2010 in Audi A8 model
The Audi passive (far infrared) night vision system uses a thermal imaging camera. It has an vision angle of 24 degrees and reacts to the body heat of objects that were recorded. This information is transformed into black and white images by the computer and then showed on the central display. The range ahead s about 300 meters ( 984.25ft), far beyond the high beams of any car. In 2013, the system was further developed by adding Animal Detection and Pedestrian Marker Lights.
Prices for car night vision systems of these three premium cars, range from an eye watering $2000 - $2,500. It's difficult to state the exact price because these car manufacturers often add some features, as part of the optional package that is not offered for sale separately.
4. Lanmodo Vast - a totally new Night Vision System
The night vision systems described above are made available only to specific car makers and models, such as the BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Cadillac and more. However, there is a new system that can fit into almost all types of vehicles.
The Lanmodo Vast night vision system provides better visibility to young and old drivers who are traveling at night or during bad weather. It uses a front facing camera and has a 36 degrees angle view, covering a broader range than what the headlights can see. The Lanmodo Vast is great to detect distant objects in low-light conditions, rainy days or foggy weather, due to its long distance view of about 300m (984 feet).
Besides showing distant objects and people clearly, the Lanmodo Vast also improves low light visibility. During the image processing, objects in the dark environment are being revealed and displayed on the screen, and images are of 1080p and full-color. The image produced may not be visually appealing, because it is amplified, but it is clear enough to notice the people, cars, and road traffic signs.
The Lanmodo Vast is priced between $499 and $599, you will notice a very big price difference. You can save a big amount, when you choose to buy the Lanmodo Vast for your vehicle. In addition to a low price, it can be installed easily by yourself, which means that you need not bring your car to a motor shop to have it installed.