Condensation, blind spots and extreme weather are no match for Nissan Smart rear view mirror system.
The rear view mirror is a handy tool for knowing just how close an object is behind you and for checking your hairdo (we’ve all done it). It is, however, rendered completely useless when the warmth of your breath meets the cold glass of your rear window and everything starts to steam up.
Luckily clever folk at Nissan have announced the Smart rear view mirror. This clever device replaces the glass mirror of old with an LCD monitor that is connected to a 1,300,000 pixel narrow-angle camera mounted above the rear windscreen outside the car.
Not only does the Smart rear view mirror’s 180-degree view bypass the need to wait until your rear windscreen is no longer steamed up or covered in snow, it gives you an unimpeded rear view of your surroundings instead of you having to look through from the inside of the car.
That means C-pillars and tall passengers are, therefore, no longer an issue although a wayward leaf on the camera could still be a problem. It also means you can see around a blind corner when reversing, saving you from having to edge out slowly until you have a better view.
Nissan claims the Smart rear view will work come rain or shine, dawn or dusk, and that it will even provide a clear image even if the driver behind has left his headlights on full-beam at night. Sunlight and the resulting glare is also said to be a non-issue, in part thanks to clever image processing.
A button on the bottom of the Smart rear view lets you swap between the digital display and a standard mirror, just on the off chance you need to check your hair or see what the kids are doing in the back.
Nissan said it had to implement a unique aspect ratio for the LCD display because the standard 4:3 and 16:9 were unsuitable. An approximate aspect ratio of 4:1 is used instead.
“Smart rearview mirror will give our customers the best possible view no matter how tall the passengers in the back seat, or the road conditions,” Nissan chief planning officer and executive vice president Andy Palmer commented.
“It also offers the possibility of new and exciting designs for our upcoming models because Smart rearview mirror is an alternative to a very wide rear window for good visibility. We’ll have the flexibility to create new shapes, and to further improve aerodynamics for better fuel efficiency.”
Nissan is one of a few car manufacturers that have considered a digital approach. Audi announced an OLED rear view display for its R18 Le Mans prototype car back in May 2012.
While a Nissan with no rear window seems unlikely, the Smart rear view will become an option for its production cars in 2015 if all goes to plan. Before that it will undergo some field testing in the remarkable Le Mans ZEOD RC car.