While its cars are taking center stage in Geneva, Nissan also used the Swiss show to reveal its latest tech innovation, the Smart rearview mirror. Intended to complement Nissan's already impressive array of camera-based driver assists, this new Smart solution combines a traditional inside mirror with a high-res LCD monitor that displays images from a rear-facing camera mounted at the back of the vehicle to provide a driver with better look at what's behind.
"The 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 Andy Palmer, Chief Planning Officer and executive Vice President of Nissan. "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."
According to Nissan, engineering the Smart mirror system involved its own set of technical challenges. The camera is a purpose-built 1.3-megapixel, narrow-angle unit designed to provide a hi-def image that's optimized for the unique 4:1 aspect ratio of the custom-spec LCD display - a proportion that matches the shape of the actual mirror. This combination lets the Smart rearview mirror deliver crisp, clear visuals regardless of weather or lighting conditions and also allows the driver to toggle the system on or off depending on their preference.
Like Audi, who fitted a similar but pure camera-based digital rearview mirror setup on its Le Mans-winning R18 prototype racers, Nissan plans to use this new Smart alternative on its revolutionary Nismo Racing ZEOD RC Hybrid prototype that will take part in the legendary 24 hour enduro this June. However, the automaker also will roll the innovative Smart rearview mirror out on a global basis starting with the home market where it will be introduced as a dealer-installed option. No word yet on when the Smart rearview mirror will be coming to the U.S.
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