Gadgets

Ambarella launching new chips for 360-degree car video cameras

A screenshot from a car crash video.

Above: A screenshot from a car crash video.

Image Credit: VodkaVideo

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Ambarella is launching new MotorVu video chips for 360-degree views for car video cameras.

Car crash videos have become a phenomenon on YouTube, in part because of the heavy use of dashboard video cameras in Asia and Russia. Those dashboard video cameras are expected to spread to the U.S. and other countries as the need to document extraordinary events becomes more common.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based Ambarella makes low-power chips for digital still cameras and video cameras. It is unveiling its new products at the 2014 International CES is Las Vegas this week.

The MotorVu 360 reference design (a prototype system which gadget makers can easily adopt) can accommodate four simultaneous 1080p high-definition video camera modules at the same time.

The MotorVu 360 uses the Ambarella B5 family of receiver and transmitter companion chips that support the transmission of video data across low-cost, flexible cables. It also uses the Ambarella A9 camera system-on-a-chip. The reference design will be available for customers in the first quarter.

Chris Day, the vice president of marketing and development at Ambarella, said, “Car cameras are huge in Russia and in Asia, like a black box recorder for cars.

“If there’s an accident, this provides the evidence that you were not to blame. You can protect yourself. And in some countries, you can protect yourself from the police.”

Ambarella is also working on A7LW camera chips for use with Google’s Helpout app platform, where uses can offer help services to internet users via wearable video cameras. On top of that, Day expects that wearable cameras, like those used in Google Glass, will become increasingly common.

“With Google, we have a work in progress,” Day said.

Rival’s include CSR’s Zoran division and major Asian companies that make chips for their own cameras.

Ambarella MotorVu gives a 360-degree view for car cameras.

Above: Ambarella MotorVu gives a 360-degree view for car cameras.

Image Credit: Ambarella

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