At the New York International Auto Show next week Nissan will debut the world's first LCD-monitor rear view mirror to help aftward visibility.
The Nissan Smart Rearview Mirror, mounted in the traditional location at the top edge of the windshield, looks like a plain old piece of reflective glass on the surface. However, with the flip of the switch occupants can activate a full-width LCD screen that displays real-time images from a rear-facing high-resolution camera on the back of the vehicle.
The resulting image replaces the mirror's reflection with a 4:1 aspect ratio obstruction-free view of what's behind the vehicle. Tall passengers, cargo and even increasingly wide C-pillars are absent from the display, giving a clear panorama of what's behind the car.
In addition to the obvious safety benefits, Nissan Chief Planning Officer and Executive VP Andy Palmer said the Smart Rearview Mirror would allow stylists to pen never-before attempted designs, since vehicle shape will no longer be dictated by rear visibility. Even fuel economy can be improved, In particular, extremely aerodynamic shapes have the potential for greatly improving fuel economy.
The Smart Rearview Mirror will be shown on a 2014 Nissan Rogue at the NYIAS, but the first practical implementation will be on the Nissan ZEOD RC race car slated to run in the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans.
"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. "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."