by Pat Goss
We have some really neat add-on black box technology here. All right, first on my Explorer I wanted to have a reverse sensing system, but I didn’t want the buttons that show through the bumper. I think those are pretty ugly myself. So I elected to go after market on it, and I installed one of these systems.
This is a ROSS system, and ROSS stands for Rostra Obstacle Sensing System. Now what’s different about this is these sensors get mounted behind the bumper. They’re radar-based, so they’ll actually shoot a beam through the plastic of the bumper and give you all the benefits of the regular system, plus you don’t have the ugly appearance. Now it even comes with a small set of LEDs that gets mounted inside the vehicle, and these change from green to yellow to red, depending on how close you are to the obstacle, and you view those in the rearview mirror.
Now something else that helps to see what’s going on behind the car is the FrameCAM. This is actually a camera right here built into the license plate frame. Now it sends a signal up to the front of the vehicle where you have a monitor, and of course the monitor is only turned on when you put the car in reverse, so it does a good job. Now the monitor actually gets mounted to the windshield using a mounting plate that is very similar to what you would find for the rearview mirror. So, pretty interesting and inexpensive, too.
All right, now we know where our obstacles are behind the vehicle. How about knowing where the vehicle is? Well, for that we go to DirectTrack. Now DirectTrack, more black boxes, and it’s a GPS cellular system that monitors the position of the car all the time that the car is on. Now, you say, well, that’s no big deal, lots of systems like that. But this one is different, inasmuch as you can access information about where the car is over the Internet. So that’s brand new. Plus you can also print out up to 30 days of activity for the vehicle. It will show exactly where the vehicle has been, its speeds, when it was shut off, all of this stuff. Very interesting technology, and it’s brand new.
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