How Do 360 Car Cameras Work: Car Camera Technology 101

How Do 360 Car Cameras Work: Car Camera Technology 101
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As technology improves, so does the ability to view your car at different angles with car cameras. Over the last decade, rear-view and dash cameras have become outstandingly popular, which has created a massive demand for manufacturers to produce something new and exciting. That exciting, fresh, and innovative technology is what helped to develop the 360 surround view car cameras.

The primary purpose of this guide is to break them down for you and explain how do 360 car cameras work, just in case you’re interested in investing in one for yourself.

How It All Started

The introduction of car cameras as a whole came from the rearview camera invention. Many people might believe that it was the dash camera that came first, but it’s the opposite.

Chuck Jordan, an automotive designer who was General Motors’ head of design in 1977, created the first rearview camera in the same year. Chuck Jordan’s creation of the Buick Centurio XP-301 had a futuristic look for a concept car, but the look wasn’t enough for the innovator.

Jordan wanted to include technologies that he felt might be available in the future, so he invented an early version of the rearview camera. It had television hardware with a camera built into the trunk and a screen built into the Centurio’s dash.

The rearview camera didn’t get introduced to the United States of America until 2002, and the same basic principles are used on rearview cameras today as they were back then. However, technology has changed, making it possible for wireless systems to be available and they don’t always require a physical connection.

How 360 Surround View Cameras Work

Now that you know where the idea of car cameras came from, we can start delving into the good stuff and answer your burning “How do 360 car cameras work?” question. The 360 surround view cameras were introduced in 2007, though they still aren’t as popular as the rear and dash cameras.

It works by incorporating one camera in the center of your car’s front grille, while two additional ultra-wide-angle lens cameras get placed at the driver and passenger side view mirrors. There is also a fourth camera that gets positioned just above your license plate at the back of the car.

The software that’s built into your 360 camera base unit works to mesh the images together before it broadcasts the picture of your vehicle on the LCD in your car. Think of it as a drone hovering above your car, giving you a bird’s eye view.


The 360 car cameras are most beneficial when it comes to parking. Even if you’re familiar with your own driveway and you aren’t concerned with how you park there, you’re likely not to be familiar with other driveways. Also, there is always the hassle of parking in public places, and taking part in the dreaded parallel and perpendicular parking.

The perfectly positioned cameras of your surround view system help you to ensure that you are perfectly centered when parking. The majority of the systems include a feature that allows the parking view to come on automatically once you put your vehicle in reverse.

Another big advantage to having a 360 surround view car camera is that the four cameras are capable of shifting the view perspective, creating a top-down look at your vehicle. Your integrated software does this by using your vehicle’s onboard computer to change the perspective of the video.

Nissan, the first car manufacturer to introduce a 360 surround view camera, compared it to looking at a book on a sharp angle and looking at one straight down. It’s the computer’s processing power that helps to mesh the camera views into a single seamless image.

Features and Functions

When it comes to 360-degree car cameras, the features that come along with them are relatively the same as your standard front or rearview camera. You are still able to record video with a Micro SD card, and sometimes even a USB drive in a separate channel that is dependent on your base unit. These systems provide complete control of the situations happening around your vehicle and assist you with seeing through blind areas.

So, the most significant feature is that it increases the safety of you, your friends, and your family by a longshot. Reverse driving, turning, parking in confined spaces, recognizing a possible accident before it happens, along with many other maneuvers and situations are the primary function of a 360-degree camera.

Similar to dash and rearview cameras, the surround view cameras are typically designed to go into a standby mode once you’ve turned your vehicle off. It then starts to record more extended video clips when the integrated Gravity Sensor (G-Sensor) is triggered by a sudden movement, bump, or other types of collision. This same sensor is also activated while you are driving and ensures that the loop recording feature doesn’t delete the file that you need to review at a later time.


Currently, 360-degree surround view car cameras aren’t as popular as the rear view or dash cameras. There are only a few car models that offer it as an add-on while purchasing. However, as the software and the technology perfects itself, and the demand for car visibility keeps growing, more car manufacturers are going to introduce the exciting technology.

You might be wondering how do 360 car cameras work now, but in due time, it’s likely that you are going to be just as familiar with the surround view technology as you are with the dash and rear view camera technology. Many larger vehicles such as transport trucks, buses, and campers get great use out of the surround view technology because of how easy it is to see through what is otherwise a blind spot. Not to mention, it makes parking that much easier.

Some companies sell surround-view cameras if you are looking to get one installed now instead of waiting for the manufacturers to introduce them to the majority of vehicles. However, it’s important to remember that these systems are more expensive than your typical car camera, and they do require a professional for installation.

Before you go ahead and purchase your 360 surround view car camera, ensure that there is an expert in your area that is familiar with the formatting and installation, so you know that your camera is going to be set-up correctly.

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