By Devin Fehely

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Cars are like rolling time capsules – typically equipped with whatever hardware and software they had when first manufactured. But, a Bay Area company run by a former Apple employee wants to help drivers of older cars retrofit a safety device that’s standard on many new cars.

“The first backup camera came out 25 years ago, but it’s just now reaching critical mass. About 20 to 25 percent of the cars on the road today have backup cameras,” Pearl Automotive CEO Bryson Gardner said.

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An overwhelming majority- nearly 200-million cars just in the U.S. don’t have those cameras.

Gardner is looking to change that. The former Apple employee has launched a startup which is designing an inexpensive, easy-to-use backup camera system for existing cars.

“So, it really is a product that you can buy and install on your car in five or ten minutes and make your car a fundamentally better vehicle,” Gardner said.

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The solar-powered camera attaches to the car’s license plate, connecting wirelessly to a cell phone.

“It’s really a rear-vision system. In addition to the clear video that’s sent to your phone, we also have software that detects objects behind the vehicle,” Gardner said. Those obstacles can include people, pets, cars, and kids that might dart behind a car backing up.

The company is already taking orders, and will ship the cameras in September.

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