Nissan Motor Company, Ltd., has showcased a Smart rearview mirror at the Geneva Motor Show that provides clear rearward visibility under various conditions. It is actually an LCD monitor, a world first, that can be opted for in lieu of the traditional rearview mirror, as and when the driver wants.
“Could you please keep your head down?” Haven’t we all thrown that frustrated request at tall passengers in the rear just because their heads pop up like blinkers in your rear view mirror? Even a upright headrest can sometimes be an issue. Someone at Nissan has noticed your woes, finally.
An LCD monitor that acts as the Smart rearview mirror is built into the structure of the traditional rearview mirror. A high-resolution camera mounted on the rear feeds the monitor with a clear unobstructed view of the rear flanks, and even the ability to check blind spots.
A control located at the bottom of the mirror allows the driver to switch between the traditional rearview mirror and the LCD display. The Smart rearview mirror provides a wider and clearer view without the hindrance of conventional obstructions like C-pillars or upright headrests or even luggage piled up in the rear compartment. The Smart rearview mirror makes rearward visibility free from in-vehicle obstructions as the camera is mounted on the rear window that transmits images on the rear view mirror’s LCD monitor.
Better still, the Smart rearview mirror can provide a clear image in conditions including rain, snow, dawn and dusk. The high quality camera and image processing system improves clarity and reduces glare, even during harshly falling light or when the vehicle behind has strong headlights.
Overcoming convention and non-conformities: Matching a standard wide-angle camera lens to this unique monitor the specially-shaped LCD monitor would reduce the image resolution when adjusted to the special monitor size. To keep the image quality intact, a 1,300,000 pixel narrow-angle camera was developed.
Likewise, conventional monitors with aspect ratio of 4:3 or 16:9 wouldn’t be adequately displayed in a rearview mirror. Therefore, an LCD monitor with a unique aspect ratio of approximately 4:1 was developed.
Now, the question arises: What about an image overlap between that projected onto the LCD monitor and the natural reflection in the traditional mirror? Yes, it can create an image overlap — a dual layered effect — but Nissan overcame this challenge with a unique technology applied to the structural design of the LCD monitor and the mirror.
Many advantages: In the world of motorsports, a consistently clear view is of utmost importance. So, Nissan plans to implement the Smart rearview mirror in the ZEOD RC that is scheduled to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other NISMO racecars. Nissan also points to the possibility of narrowing or reshaping wide rear windscreens to improve aerodynamics but coming to think of it, it is always good to leave a usable lookout window back there, just in case. After all, it is an electronic device and again, all it takes to obscure a camera lens is a little bird-poop!
Nissan has previously brought about useful innovation involving cameras and monitors like surround views, backing up monitors and even emergency brake assistance through motion detection. Nissan is planning to introduce the Smart rearview mirror as a dealer option soon in Japan and the next year across global markets.