Understanding the 360° Camera View System

Shown is the 360° Camera on a 2015 Ford Explorer.
Shown is the 360° Camera on a 2015 Ford Explorer.

A key part of being able to diagnose a problem with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) is understanding how the system works. Knowing what is happening inside the system will help you properly diagnose why the system may be failing. This will prevent replacing parts that are not causing the system issue. Let’s take a look at the inner workings of a 360° camera view system.

The 360° camera view system utilizes several cameras located around the vehicle to create a “bird’s eye” view of the vehicle. The normal 360° system is comprised of four cameras. The exact location of the cameras can vary, but there is generally a camera in the front bumper or grille, under the side view mirrors, and in the rear of the vehicle. The camera in the rear of the vehicle can be located in the liftgate, tailgate, deck lid, or rear bumper. There are also more advanced 360° camera view systems that use a camera on each side of the front bumper cover, or multiple cameras for the rear view. These additional cameras can give additional views, such as a view of the intersection that is being approached, or the blind spot when backing out of a parking space.

The cameras must have the ability to view a large area, so most of the cameras will have a wide-angle lens. The cameras on the sides of the vehicle must have the ability to see the whole side of the vehicle, from the front bumper to the rear bumper. The cameras on the front and rear need to be able to see far to the left and right of the vehicle. Many OEMs offer a disclaimer, warning that there may be blind spots in the camera viewing area. Some of these blind spots are by design and cannot be adjusted.

After all of the cameras have captured the image, the images is sent to an image or video processing module. Here the images from each camera is pieced together to create one image. The image is then sent to the screen which will display the 360° camera view. Depending on the complexity of the 360° camera view system, other systems may also provide input. The 360° system can tie in with park assist sensors or other collision avoidance systems, such as rear cross traffic. Some systems are able to detect a moving object in the 360° view, such as a ball rolling or a shopping cart moving towards the vehicle.

Understanding how the system functions can shorten diagnostic times. Knowing what part of the system to test will help prevent installing parts that don’t actually fix the problem.