Proliferation of 360 Cameras in Automobiles

In a news post: about the USA’s upcoming mail delivery truck replacement, the linked article mentions,

The new vehicles will be designed to carry more cargo and will have 360-degree cameras, air conditioning and a front and rear collision avoidance system.

with my relative lack of knowledge of modern cars/automobiles, I do not know how abnormal this is; is this a case of ground looking hazard-cameras like on NASA’s Martian rovers, though in this case probably in anticipation of self-driving developments, or will this be more like street-view cameras that Google, Apple, Bing, & HERE use?

How much of a privacy concern would this be for those in the USA?

Thoughts specific to this vehicle

Especially with quasi-federated nature of government power, the USPS is the most widespread presence of the federal government across the country, is it not? If you wanted a government version of Street View data, this would be the way to do it, and with theoretically weekly if not daily refresh times. Though I do not see how much of need there would be for this kind of imagery.

AFAIK 360 degree cameras are to help people park their massive soccer-mom-mobiles :man_shrugging:


I thought parking assistance and other such systems use proximity sensors either ultrasonic or radar, which are not capable of generating a picture that would be of any privacy concern.

In fact, I thought Tesla was recently being criticised for overemphasising visual input for its self driving features. To me, that makes it all the more confusing to see 360 cameras touted as a modern vehicle feature.

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In the USA, the NHTSA mandated that all “new” motor vehicles must be equipped with backup cameras. In 2019, they started floating the idea of equipping motor vehicles with camera monitoring systems (CMS) to help with collision avoidance and what not.

Does this have a security concern for those of us in the USA on USA roads? Yes! But I don’t think this will be the equivalent of the NSA hoovering up all the datas and storing them somewhere. Having a whole mountain dedicated to capturing and storing packets is one thing. Storing images and video, that is going to be another ball game that we would see it if they were to do it.

“the Machine” accepts all input to determine “relevant” and “irrelevant” numbers.

Let’s just home there’s no Samaritan at the NSA.

On a real note:

Typically 360 cameras in autos are to aid the driver (human) in collision avoidance during parking maneuvers and are presented like the below. It’s usually a premium in most US cars so that might be why it’s called out.


And they do. A lot of people are still oblivious to the beeping though. Like shown above, at least the camera would let them visually know what they’re about to hit. Then the driver can make the informed decision whether or not to go ahead and run over the kid, pet, light pole, etc.

Yes, and yes, and also yes.

Basically as Wendell keeps saying, if the systems exist they will be abused sooner or later.

So for the short terms they will be for improving self driving and collision and probably also security of people maybe robbing the van.

But also at some stage, they will look at how much it cost and how much return it is delivering, and no doubt decide that they could make more money from their investment and sell it to the maps companies, police, private data set training along with probably a vast number of dystopian options for having rolling surveillance in ever neighbourhood, city, town, region and building