In recent years, reversing cameras and parking sensors have done a lot to inhibit parking scrapes and reversing accidents. However, they are usually the preserve of new cars. In a goal to change this, FenSens utilizes a new license plate frame, which wirelessly connects to the smartphone and provides the driver with parking sensors irrespective of how old the car is.
The FenSens team claims that 90 percent of the cars on US roads don’t have parking sensors, which contributes to the 1.8 million rear-end accidents, 15,000 injuries, and US$7 billion in damage caused by back-up accidents.
Though there are numerous self-install kits online, they can be costly and beyond the capabilities of many to install. Compared to most of these kits, the FenSens unit does not need any wiring or external power but instead communicates wirelessly and relies on a built-in five-month battery.
Two different models are available: the Fender Defender and the Parking Assist. Both models attach to the car with four screws and connect to iOS or Android devices using Bluetooth LE. The dual-sensor entry-level Parking Assist model is designed for trucks and cars with license plates, and has a narrower field of vision in order to protect the area immediately behind the driver.
The costlier Fender Defender model features four ultrasonic sensors, covering the entire rear of the car. Both models come with a range of approximately 10 feet (3 meters), and are IP67 water/dust proof.
Information regarding what is going on behind the driver is conveyed through the typical combination of beeps and boops, as well as a visual display on the mobile device of how close things are to the driver. In the event the driver forgets to pull the phone out of his pocket, the vibration alerts come in handy.
While this is a perfect idea, there is still no better alternative to turning around and having a look behind. Also, in some parts of the world, it is illegal to use the phone while driving and, without having the device mounted on the dashboard, looking down to the hand or lap radically reduces the driver’s situational awareness.
The Parking Assist and Fender Defender models are now available for pre-order.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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