2001 Toyota Celica GTS Video System
This is my first post, so go easy on me. I've an active project blog at http://bluecelica.blogspot.com.
I've broken my car ambitions down into 3 intial phases:
1. Automotive Vision System - 4 cameras, 2 front, 2 rear. 2 LCD video displays on either side of instrument cluster. This phase is *finished*.
2. Carputer MP3/Navigation - Classic GPS Nav system (with external hand-held GPS, not a 'mouse-GPS') and MP3 player. This phase is pending time, parts, and money.
3. Video Surveillance System - Adding a few more cameras, and a secondary DVR computer to capture the video and save it to a hard drive. This phase is still in the planning stage.
I go into detail as to why I'm doing this on my first post (at the bottom) of the blog. Not that I need to explain it to you guys :). But since I'm adding some things first that most of you would add second, third, or not at all, let me give you the short version - I drive in a very hostile traffic environment, and situational awareness is key. So my Phase 1 has rear-view cameras (mirrored, of course) that show me my blindspots without me having to look over my shoulder - this allows me to stay facing front, so I can keep my eyes on the road to look out for people slamming on their brakes in front of me - I can't count the number of close-calls I've had in 65+ mph bumper-to-bumper drives where I'm checking my blindspot for a lane change and the guy in front of me nails the brake pedal - it's a rude shock to return from looking over your shoulder and seeing brakelights.
My Phase 2 is most people's Phase 1, so there's little need for an explaination there. I got parts coming, and more to order, but Phase 2 should be done within a month.
Phase 3 hooks into where Phase 1 left off, but allows me to record the video I get from my cams. This is important because I've had so many close-calls where the situation wasn't my fault, but it might be hard to argue in court/to your insurance company as to exactly how it's not. I've lost a $1,000 deductible once already because of that - I figure this is an investment in that never happening again.
Plus there's another aspect to it - I could actually do something useful with these recordings - either give them to police for prosecution of bad drivers, or even for sale to those reality shows that show bad driving, accidents, etc. If nothing else, I can show them to you guys :). You never know, really.
Phase 3 is going to be complicated and expensive - a solid 4-channel, 640x480, 120 fps capture card runs $400+, and needs a P4 2.8 GHz minimum. Those suckers don't mount well in an automotive environment due to high power and cooling requirements. I'm probably looking at a new alternator by then, and perhaps a water-cooler radiator for the CPU. And DC-DC power supplies are expensive as heck (but you all know that), but try to find a 300 watt one - they can't be found for any price. 300 watts/12 volts = 25 Amps - that's a lot of juice. We'll see how long it takes me to get to Phase 3.
Beyond that, who knows? I'm looking at a Phase 1 1/2 or Phase 2 1/2 where I'd add a Thermal Imager - we'll see how much those suckers cost, though.
Here's some quick pics of the project, go to my blog to see a few more.
Dash with displays. You can also see the left-hand rear-view camera poking out the side:
Right-hand camera cluster:
Front-looking camera in action:
And here's a short WMV movie demoing the system.
I'm going on vacation this weekend, so not much will be done over the next few weeks. When I come back, I'll be back into it, however, so feel free to comment on it, and see if I can get any new ideas from you folks.
See you on the road...