A couple of years ago Mercedes introduced the 360° camera, and ever since then a 360° camera is available for every never commercial or non-commercial Mercedes model. The 360° parking camera comes as a part of the Parking package or the Vision Package in different markets.
A 360° camera is a useful piece of technology that increases safety and makes parking and maneuvering in tight spaces as easy as it gets. Virtually all newer cars come with optional 360° cameras, some governments even mandate reversing cameras to be a standard option on every newer vehicle.
360° camera functionality
A Mercedes 360° camera consists out of 4 or more cameras, one on the front bumper, 2 on the mirrors, and one on the back bumper. These cameras are aimed at providing visual assistance in parking or other scenarios such as off-roading or even as dash cams in crash situations.
These cameras also have additional functionalities such as night vision that enables you to see pedestrians or animals in a dimly lit situation or potential hazards on the road ahead. These cameras are also able to read the traffic signs and project the speed limits or other valuable pieces of information on your dash.
These cameras also come with advanced parking sensors that work in tandem with the camera to precisely determine the position of the car in a matter of seconds. Mercedes models also offer live directions of travel when reversing so you can park your car precisely between the lines.
360° camera modes
As mentioned previously this system consists of at least 4 cameras that cover all of the surroundings of the car at any moment. Modern-day Mercedes models offer many different camera modes and angles depending on the situation in question.
The first mode would be the regular reversing camera. This camera is usually located above the license plate, and some Mercedes models like the E-class sedan use a pop-up camera, which is certainly a good idea because a rear-view camera tends to accumulate lots of dirt and grime which makes it unusable in some cars.
Two cameras covering the sides of the vehicles are usually located in the mirror housings. These cameras also offer additional functionalities and modes such as junction modes or visual parking assistance mode when parking so you don’t end up curbing your wheels. These cameras are also useful in off-roading situations.
Probably the coolest mode of them all is the AI 360° mode which uses all the cameras at once and provides you with an outside view of the car that looks incredibly futuristic because these systems are the pinnacle of automotive visual assistance technologies.
Mercedes Parking Package with a 360° camera
If you want the full Mercedes 360° camera functionality you have to opt for the Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC which offers the best Mercedes visual assistance features currently available. This system consists out of 12 ultrasound parking sensors, 4 on the front and back, and 2 sensors on each side.
This system offers a real-time crisp and clear depiction of the specific parking situation on your infotainment screen the moment you start using the cameras. The system is able to actively look for available spaces in the cars surrounding and suggest to you where to park.
The most advanced versions of these systems found on the new S-class are even able to autonomously pilot the car in many different situations. This system also offers additional multi-purpose cameras on the vehicle and if combined with the Intelligent Drive and 4-wheel steer options this system is capable of parking the car even with you not being in it.
Is it worth it to option the 360° camera on new Mercedes Benz models?
All newer models come with reversing cameras as standard due to US government regulations, but if you want the full 360° experience the option will set you back $500-$1500 depending on the markets and specific packages and deals.
These systems are incredibly advanced and they do offer additional functionalities that are very useful in many different driving situations. These systems enable you to park easier, faster, and most importantly safer. They are recommended by the manufacturer and are also fairly popular in the used-car market as well.
Mercedes offers many additional features that are not an essential piece of technology, but the functionality the 360° camera offers certainly does seem like a great way to further increase safety and all-around visibility in all sorts of situations.
Are there any cheaper aftermarket 360° cameras?
Amazon, eBay, and many other sites are brimming with aftermarket 360° cameras for your vehicle, but these cameras don’t offer a comparable experience to the original system. Even though these cameras cost significantly less than the Mercedes factory cameras, they are not worth it.
The Mercedes 360° camera system is incredibly advanced, many of the safety and luxury features also take advantage of the camera system. And those advantages do not work with aftermarket 360° cameras and besides the price, there is no other reason as to why an aftermarket system would ever be better than the original one.
Is the Mercedes 360° camera system reliable and are there any limitations?
The modern-day system fitted in newer Mercedes models has been thoroughly tested before reaching the market, and Mercedes is certain of the new system being as reliable as any other mandatory system in the car. These systems are becoming more and more widespread, and in the future, a 360° camera might become a standard feature just like the reversing camera.
This system is not going to function in a few different scenarios such as if the doors or the tailgate are opened. The system also won’t respond if your mirrors are folded in or the outside conditions are really bad. This system also won’t work if it is damaged or really dirty.
You should never completely rely on car safety aids as the car manufacturer will never take the blame if the system did not recognize any potential hazards. These systems are there to aid you, and not to replace your eyes.