Selecting a suitable blind spot sensor can be challenging when so many are on the market. Especially when everyone claims theirs is the best. To help you ease this discomfort, this article will help you narrow down the endless list of sensors.
With the help of this article, you will be able to identify the type of sensor you should consider for your car and the technology and features it should have.
Intro To Blind Spot Sensors
Every vehicle has blind spots, irrespective of its size and position. These blind spots are more dangerous due to lack of visibility, leading to severe collisions. To avoid this, blind spot sensors are installed in the vehicles. These are the advanced driving assistance system that aids the driver in detecting any vehicle or object in the danger zones or blind spots. The function of these sensors is to forewarn the driver of the proceeding danger before the impact. It gives enough time for the driver to respond to the warning.
These blind spot sensors pick up the movement around the host vehicle with a specific range. As soon as a car enters the range, the sensors gather data to signal the system of the adjacent vehicle. The sensors will detect and calculate the distance between the two vehicles. They then send signals to forewarn the driver.
The driver can receive the signals in many ways. The signals can be visual; an icon will blink on the dashboard to get the driver’s attention. Or, it can be audible, so if the driver does not see the icon blinking, they could hear a beeping sound. Advanced systems can affect the vehicle’s controls by vibrating the steering wheel or driver’s seat. Either way, the goal of the blind spot sensor is to get the driver’s attention immediately.
Factory-Installed vs. Aftermarket Blind Spot Sensor
Factory-installed sensors are those sensors that are already attached to the vehicles. Usually, these factory-installed sensors come with the latest models. Government regulations lead automakers to install blind spot sensors in vehicles to make them safer. So, they develop more cost-effective ways of improving this technology. The factory-installed sensors are specifically made according to the specific design and model. So, these sensors are better and more efficient at detecting and forewarning the driver.
On the other hand, aftermarket blind spot sensors are for those vehicles which are old models. Since these facilities were rare back then, the sensors never came with the old models. But to cater to this issue, the manufacturers have brought aftermarket blind spot sensors. Thus, solving the safety concerns of old-model drivers. The aftermarket blind spot sensors are as efficient as the former ones. They give the driver and passengers the same security. The function of both types of sensors is almost similar.
Shortcomings Of Blind Spot Sensors
The blind spot sensors can be beneficial in detecting the vehicle in the blind spot zones. But even these sensors have their limitation. These impediments vary according to the quality and features of each sensor. Some work better on highway roads, while others work better on city roads due to speed ranges.
- Typically, the blind spot sensors work at speeds above 20 to 35 mph. The primary reason for this speed is to prevent false alarms now and then. If you drive in the city, the vehicles are usually closer to yours at a slow speed. So, when they reach inside your zone, the alarm triggers. Thus, to avoid it, the sensors work better at a certain speed cap, making them more useful at highway speeds.
- Another limitation of the blind spot sensor is that it cannot detect vehicles at a significantly faster speed. Every system has limits, so it is better to check its features. It will allow you to select blind spot sensors that work perfectly for you. In simple words, one that caters to your driving needs.
- It can be challenging for blind spot sensors to detect small objects such as bicycles, humans, and animals. So, when driving, it is crucial to pay extra attention and rely on something other than technology, as it has its weak points. However, our radar technology is efficient enough to detect pedestrians and animals.
With time, many systems emerge in the market that finds solutions to the limitations mentioned earlier. You have to find suitable sensors that work as per your requirements.
Key Features To Consider In Blind Spot Sensors
If you are looking to install an aftermarket blind spot sensor in your vehicle, then it can be very confusing with so many options out there in the market. Usually, these customized kits can be used in various cars due to their near-universal application. It means you don’t have to worry about the model and age of your vehicle when selecting the blind spot sensors. But there are some features that you can consider when choosing a blind spot sensor for your car. Such features make your purchase economical and give you benefits for a longer duration.
Numerous types of technologies are available in the market, all with pros and cons. The two most common technologies are radar and ultrasonic sensors. Mostly, radars are preferred as they are reliable and efficient.
Sensors are directly linked with the performance of the blind spot detection system, But the choice should be economical and reliable. To ensure it, you need to analyze your daily use of the vehicle, then check if the properties of the sensor match your daily usage. That will allow you to choose the sensors that give you more benefits with lesser constraints. All sensors have specific speed limits and detection ranges, so make sure to check them before making the purchase.
After detection with the help of sensors, notification is the second most crucial thing in blind spot sensors. In the absence of indicators, you can never be sure if your blind spot monitoring system works or not. It comes in different forms. In the visual category, LED lights are commonly used. But audio alarms are also attached to the vehicles to reduce the chances of missing sensor indication. The driver can attach the visual icon in their line of sight. They can also manage the audio signals by changing the volume of the alarm.
Accuracy is essential to avoid getting startled by an alarm with each passing vehicle. It will come in handy in preventing false alarms for objects that do not need the driver’s attention. High-quality sensors promise high accuracy, although they may be pricy. These sensors have advanced controller programs. Thus, they can effectively differentiate between positive and negative triggers.
The aftermarket blind spot monitoring system needs installation in the vehicle. Professional installation is always advisable. But if you are a do-it-yourself, many companies offer installation kits with user manuals. It has separate components like sensors and indicators that you can mount in your vehicle following the instructions.
How To Choose The Right Sensor For Your Car?
There are different technologies available for blind spot sensors in the vehicle. Typically, there are three types of sensors that help in detecting vehicles with their distinct mechanism. They are as follows:
- Ultrasonic sensors
- Optical sensors
- Radar sensors
Ultrasonic Blind Spot Sensors
These types of sensors emit sound waves. Any shift in the reflected waves of the object tells the system about the surrounding. If you consider prices, they are cost-effective sensors and are very reliable in detecting the blind spots of the vehicle. However, with the benefits, there are also some disadvantages to using this type of sensor. These limitations again depend on the variant of the sensor. But generally, the users of ultrasonic sensors experience these limitations.
- Changes in the operating temperature affect the accuracy of the ultrasonic blind spot sensors.
- Rain and other harsh weather conditions, such as snow and storms, affect accuracy immensely.
- With this type of sensor technology, heterogeneous objects like road signals or humans are challenging to detect.
- The detection range in ultrasonic sensors is very restricted around the host vehicle.
- The reflection of curved and smooth surfaces can only be possible by the sensors.
Optical Blind Spot Sensors
These blind spot sensors are costlier to install compared to ultrasonic ones. But its technology can scale easily in the automotive industry. The sensors analyze the traffic flow to identify objects in the blind spot zones. Overall, this technology is cost-effective but also comes with some constraints.
- The detection range is confiding to 4 meters at max.
- Dust and rain affect the functionality of the sensors.
- Their detection capability lessens when it experiences harsh weather like snow or storm.
- It needs high computational power to work when on the road.
Radar-Based Blind Spot Sensors
In this type of sensor, the radio waves reflect the system as it hits the surface. They can transmit through the atmosphere accurately. Due to this, radar sensors are commonly used in vehicles for detection applications. In automotive blind spot monitoring, millimeter wave radars work perfectly. The driver gets the notification through radio waves, allowing them to respond quickly to the forewarning. Typically, a basic radar-based technology consists of the following components.
- Processing unit
The range of automotive radars classifies into the following ranges:
- Short-range radar (SRR) – 0.5 to 20 meters
- Medium-range radar (MRR) – 1 to 60 meters
- Long-range radar (LRR) – 10 to 250 meters
Why Choose Radar-Based Sensors?
The radar-based technology is predominantly used in blind spot sensors for their versatility. The features that outperform other sensors are due to the following reasons.
- These sensors have a range of more than 250 meters.
- Radar-based sensors can survive all weather. Weather conditions do not affect the system’s functionality.
- It works perfectly in varying light conditions: day or night.
- Materials that come under the category of insulators, like rubber, do not affect the system’s performance.
- It accurately measures the distance, velocity, and exact position of the vehicle or other objects using radio waves.
- It easily differentiates between a moving and a stationary object. Thus, overcoming the limitation of other types of sensors.
- The system’s functionality remains intact even in a closed environment, such as tunnels.
- These systems have trouble classifying objects. Other stationary objects inside the blind spot zones, like tree sides, and bridge walls, also get detected. So, for classification, a propriety algorithm must be available for filtering purposes.
- Interference from radio waves of other systems nearby can result in accuracy problems.
Overall, radar-based blind spot sensors are more economical and provide a broader range of applications. This proven technology is also advancing with the help of customized software algorithms. So, it becomes a viable option for OEMs and car manufacturers to implement. Therefore, if you are looking for a sensor for your vehicle, you should prefer radar technology. It is more reliable compared to other technologies available in the market.
Blind spots cannot get eliminated with any ideal position of mirrors in the vehicle. So, blind spot sensors are designed to enhance driver and passenger safety. Yet, even with this technology, drivers must not consider it a substitute for necessary driving skills and precautions. The driver should always keep an eye on the road and drive with undivided attention. Also, checking the system functionality is vital whenever you get on the road. So, your reliance on the blind spot sensor is not dissipative.