The Honda Odyssey has been the best-selling minivan in America for the last several years, with Honda pushing out more than 120,000 each of the last five years. Now, the 2018 Odyssey is officially on the market, and with it, Honda hopes to continue its minivan dominance. The new model features a number of new features and improvements, including wider side-opening doors and a blind spot warning system. But there’s one new addition that Honda is really banking on to set the newest Odyssey apart: CabinWatch, a new night vision camera system that gives parents a view of the car’s backseat without having to take their eyes off the road.
To see the action in the rear rows, parents have to rely on what they can see in the rearview mirror. The CabinWatch system, however, takes a real-time feed from a rear seat camera and shows it on the main console. Meaning? A full backseat glimpse is merely a glance away. What’s more, the minivan system has a night vision infrared mode so parents can keep a clear eye on sleeping infants and rear-seat shenanigans in the dark. CabinWatch also comes with CabinTalk, an in-car PA system so parents can get their kid’s attention with a voice-of-god like authority.
The CabinWatch system is as much a safety precaution as it is a spying device: by giving parents a better view of the backseat, Honda is making it more likely for parents to put kids in the much safer backseat. While the number of child injuries caused by car accidents has dropped over the last few decades, thousands of kids still are injured in car accidents every year. This includes the 663 children younger than 13 who were killed in car accidents in 2015. Experts believe many of these deaths could have been prevented, and it’s estimated that having kids in the backseat instead of passenger seat reduces fatal injury risk by almost 75 percent for children under the age of three and by 50 percent for kids between the ages of four and eight.
If the Odyssey’s newest addition proves to be successful, it likely won’t be long before other minivans have a similar system in their newest models. Because like the automatic sliding door and backseat TV, revolutionary ideas tend to spread quickly in the world of minivans.