The ever-expanding range of new technology for cars will take one more step forward at the 2014 Geneva auto show, where Nissan will reveal its Smart rearview mirror. While we’ve seen technology such as auto-dimming rearview mirrors before, the Nissan Smart rearview mirror combines a traditional mirror with an integrated LCD monitor that projects an unobstructed view via a rear-mounted camera.
One of the major advantages of the new technology is that the camera offers a wide-angle view of the car’s rear without any obstructions or obfuscation. Like current rearview cameras, the system makes backing up or seeing to the rear no problem if there are tall rear passengers or luggage blocking the rear glass, or if the rear window is very small. The 1.3 megapixel camera also automatically compensates for glare or bright headlights.
Most importantly, users can switch between a traditional mirror and the LCD display (which are layered on top of one another) at the touch of a button. This functionality will ultimately eliminate the need for rear-view camera display to run through the center stack infotainment system. Consequently, it opens the possibility for Nissan to offer a rear-view camera without also needing to package in a costly navigation or infotainment display.
"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," said Nissan chief planning officer and executive vice president Andy Palmer in a statement. "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 will utilize the new rear-camera technology in the ZEOD RC racer, which is scheduled to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. If the new Smart rearview mirror does make it possible for designers to create more aerodynamic shapes without the need for such a large rear glass, it could very well change the look of Nissan vehicles moving forward.
After Nissan introduces the Smart rearview mirror at the 2014 Geneva auto show, the automaker will make the technology available as a dealer option in the Japanese market beginning this spring. It will become available globally in 2015.