Nissan’s Rear-View Camera-Based Mirror

Nissan is launching a camera-based technology set to replace the conventional middle of the car rear-view mirror with a screen and a camera.

Nissan’s Smart Rearview Mirror, described by the company as the world’s first LCD monitor that helps provide clear rearward visibility unimpeded by traditional obstacles such as cargo, tall passengers, inclement weather or the design of a vehicle, will debut at the 2014 New York International Auto Show.

Installed in an all-new 2014 Rogue, Nissan said the Smart Rearview Mirror allows the driver to switch between the LCD monitor and the traditional rearview mirror, depending on the driver’s preference.

The Smart Rearview Mirror is housed within the structure of the traditional rearview mirror, with a built-in LCD monitor that can be activated in place of the conventional mirror.

Nissan also explained a high-resolution camera mounted on the rear of the vehicle provides the driver with a clear, unobstructed view of the rear flanks, circumventing traditional rearview obstructions such as the vehicle’s C-pillars and allowing the driver to feel more confident when maneuvering in a variety of traffic conditions. The camera projects a clear image – a wider and clearer view than a standard mirror – onto the monitor for a better view, as well as a more comfortable driving experience.

A switch function, operated by a control located at the bottom of the mirror, allows the driver to access either the traditional rearview mirror system or the Smart Rearview Mirror, said Nissan.

“Smart Rearview Mirror will give our customers the best possible view no matter how tall the passengers in the back seat or how bad 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, ensuring that appearance no longer has to be compromised for visibility and functionality. We’ll have the flexibility to create new shapes and to further improve aerodynamics for better driving dynamics and fuel efficiency.”

In addition, the Smart Rearview Mirror can provide a clear image in a variety of environmental conditions including rain, snow, dawn and dusk. The high-quality camera and image processing system implemented in the LCD monitor consistently results in a clear image with minimal glare, even during sunrise or sunset conditions or when the vehicle is being followed by a vehicle with strong headlights, added Nissan. The Smart Rearview Mirror is equipped with a newly developed, high-performance, narrow-angle camera and a specially shaped LCD monitor, with a unique aspect ratio of approximately 4:1, versus conventional monitors’ 4:3 or 16:9. Matching a standard wide-angle camera lens to this monitor could not be done since the images from the camera, when adjusted to the special monitor size, produced a low-resolution image with insufficient picture quality.

Nissan added to overcome this challenge, a 1,300,000 pixel narrow-angle camera was developed so that picture quality would not be sacrificed when formatted for the specially designed monitor.

When the LCD monitor and mirror are used in unison, the transparency of the monitor and the reflection in the mirror can create an image overlap – a dual layered effect – making it difficult to get a clean view, but with the Smart Rearview Mirror, Nissan explained it applied a special technology to the structural design of the LCD monitor and the mirror, enabling it to function without any image overlaps.

Nissan stated it plans to implement the Smart Rearview Mirror in the ZEOD RC, an experimental race car scheduled to compete in the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as other NISMO race cars.

“Under the harsh driving conditions in the world of motorsports, retaining a clear view for the race driver is of utmost importance,” said NISMO President Shoichi Miyatani. “In that sense, the Smart Rearview Mirror will be a powerful tool for our Nissan NISMO drivers. Also, we have high expectations towards improving the cars’ aerodynamic design, thanks to the Smart Rearview Mirror, thereby expanding the possibilities of race cars to a new level.”

Nissan also said it is planning to introduce the Smart Rearview Mirror to global markets over the next few years after an initial rollout to Japanese customers this spring.