Audi’s digital rear-view mirror, which made its debut in the R18 e-tron Quattro and R18 ultra race cars at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, is set to enter small scale production at the end of this year in the Audi R8 e-tron. Unlike previous rear-view mirrors from the likes of Ford, Toyota and Mazda, which dedicate only a percentage of the mirror’s surface area to displaying vision from a rear-view camera, Audi’s digital rear-view mirror does away with the conventional mirror altogether.
The “mirror” consists of a 7.7-inch AMOLED display from Samsung that displays digital images captured from a small camera mounted on the rear of the car. The camera is positioned in an aerodynamically optimized housing that is heated in cold weather to ensure the lens doesn’t fog up. This lens, which has a diameter of just a few millimeters, covers a larger field of vision than is provided by a conventional rear-view mirror.
Audi says the AMOLED display produces a high contrast image with an intelligent control system used to cut the dazzle from headlights in following vehicles. Drivers can also dim the display or turn it off all together if they wish – although you’d have to question whether this is wise, or even legal in some parts of the world. Audi is also planning to display additional information on the digital rear-view mirror in the future.
The technology’s first appearance in a production vehicle will be in the R8 e-tron, which is entering production at the end of this year. Based on the first e-tron concept car shown in Frankfurt in 2009, the R8 e-tron is an obvious choice for the introduction of the digital rear-view mirror as it has no rear window.