In the last few years, reversing or backup cameras have become standard equipment on most new cars. But if your car was made in 2015 or before, chances are that you don't have a camera, and retrofitting a reversing camera can be expensive, and it usually involves making irrevocable changes to your car. But really, you don't need a camera. You just need to know that something is back there.
Now a Washington-based company called FenSens has an affordable solution. For $149, they'll sell you a license plate frame with a basic radar setup inside it. The frame links to your phone via Bluetooth and FenSens has an app that displays what the radar is seeing in real time.
"Our whole mission is making new car tech affordable, simple, and easy to install without having to call the 'car guy,' which can get expensive," says FenSens CEO Andy Karuza.
The frame takes a couple AA batteries, and they'll power it for several months. The FenSens unit also comes with a button you can mount in your car that will "wake up" the unit and bring up the app on your phone.
The frame is a bit bulkier than usual, but the system works well. You just install the batteries in the frame, and then download the Fensens app onto your smartphone. Use Bluetooth to pair the Fensens unit with your phone and set it to automatically pair in the future. No wires, no holes in your car, no muss, and no fuss.
When you open the app, the Fensens unit scans behind (or in front of) your car and displays any perils on your phone. You can install two Fensens units and scan in front of and behind your car if your garage is constrained on space.
"We will be relentlessly pursuing ways to make the use of the product even simpler than it is today. But, I guess its not a bad start," Karuza says.
I’ve been using the Fensens this summer and it works. It’s simple, adequate, and easy to install. You can buy your own unit for $149 from www.fensens.com.