Pickup owners in Asia Pacific and Africa will be among the first to get a look at what's going on behind their truck with a new backup camera on the 2012 Ford Ranger.
This is not the Ranger we get in the States, but an entirely new vehicle that will be sold pretty much everywhere else besides North America. We just like full-size pickup trucks too much, it seems.
In the new 2012 Ranger-for-the-rest-of-the-world, the camera image is displayed in a section of the rear view mirror and marker lines overlaid on the video image indicate the width of the vehicle and distance to the closest object while backing up.
I've driven a few vehicles with these cameras including my wife's last two Subaru Tribecas and still can't get comfortable relying solely on the camera.
The wide-angle camera is positioned to provide a clear view of the rear of the pickup. Using a wide-angle lens, it sends images to a parking camera screen incorporated within the electrochromatic rear view mirror. The screen becomes visible in a section of the rear view mirror when driver shifts the transmission into reverse. The camera's low light capability, combined with the intensity of the vehicle's reverse lamps helps illuminate the image even in dark parking areas.
Ford says that drivers can back up more confidently thanks to marker lines superimposed on the screen image, showing the path of the vehicle based on the current steering angle. Two yellow lines indicate the total width of the pickup including mirrors, along with additional colored bars that show distances of 0.3 meters, one meter and 2 meters. A black dotted line that marks the pickup's center line helps the driver line up with a trailer.
The 2012 Ranger also comes with a Rear Park Assist feature that uses ultrasonic sensors in the rear bumper to measure the distance to the nearest objects. When the sensors detect an object, the radio will beep at a rate proportional to the distance between the vehicle and the object. The closer you get to the object, the faster the beeps repeat until they turn into a continuous tone as a warning to stop.
Designed and developed in Australia, this new Ranger is the first pickup built under the One Ford strategy as part of a global product program. This gave Ranger engineers access to global electrical architecture, allowing them to put many smart technologies that are already available in the Ford world, such as the Rear View Camera System, into the pickup.
I hope the view is clearer than the ones I've seen.