Fancy screens kill off the rear-view mirror

The Digital Rear-View Mirror is due to enter small-scale production in the Audi R8 e-tron at the end of this year. Photo / Supplied
The Digital Rear-View Mirror is due to enter small-scale production in the Audi R8 e-tron at the end of this year. Photo / Supplied

Rear windows could be extinct in future cars as technology improves the ability of rear-view mirrors.

Audi's limited edition Audi R8 e-tron is trialling a digital rear-view mirror that delivers brilliant images.

The car - like the latest Le Mans winners - has no rear window and hence no conventional rear-view mirror.

Its high-tech successor is a digital combination of a camera and monitor system. A control unit produces a consistent high-contrast, brilliant image. During night driving the intelligent control system prevents dazzle from the headlights of other vehicles. The driver can dim or deactivate the display at any time. Audi is also working on incorporating additional information on the monitor.

The small, ultra-lightweight camera is located in an aerodynamically optimised housing which is heated in cold temperatures. It uses a lens with a diameter of just a few millimetres and covers a much larger field of vision than a conventional rear-view mirror.

A colour monitor with a 7.7-inch screen mounted in place of a conventional rear-view mirror is used to display the digital image data from the camera. This AMOLED (active matrix organic light-emitting diode) display is making its debut in a passenger car. The organic materials used in the display are self-illuminating at a low voltage so they do not require backlighting.

The AMOLED technology has already proved widely successful in cellphones.
The new displays are more energy-efficient, thinner and lighter than conventional LCD monitors. Switching times are just a few milliseconds irrespective of the ambient temperature.

The digital rear-view mirror was given its premiere at the Le Mans 24 Hours in the R18 e-tron quattro and R18 ultra race cars which gave Audi a one-two-three win. The new system proved reliable even under the gruelling race conditions.

- NZ Herald

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