Sharp is developing a car camera system that will let drivers see obstacles as if looking down from above their cars. Called 360 degree free view the technology is on show at the Ceatec exhibition outside Tokyo. The system includes 4 1-megapixal cameras mounted on the car. They each have a 190 degree horizontal field of view. The images from the wide angle cameras are stitched together to create a real time view around the car. Sharp said the view could be displayed on the drivers dashboard and could be useful for parking or changing lanes, when it's important to avoid cars and other obstacles. Sharp is planning to partner with auto makers to bring the technology to cars by 2018. The camera modules will be available next year.
Usually not associated with automotive technology, Japan's sharp is exploring a new direction. It had other car tech at its booth like a dual view screen, which could let a driver see navigation and a passenger see controls for climate or entertainment.
Another display, which is new at Ceatec this year is the company's free form display. It allows for a thin bezel and a display that isn't restricted to being rectangular. Based on the company's IGZO display technology it could for example, be built around a car's speedometer and other gauges. The free form display will be commercialized by 2017.