Racing is a sport that keeps you glued to your seats and that too on the edge. The adrenaline you feel while watching is actually far less than the one felt by the driver. High speed cars trying to edge past each other, navigating dangerous curves and turns and maintaining the safety of oneself and others is a lot more difficult than one can comprehend Generally it is the race cars that are considered as trendsetters when it comes to new technologies being introduced that consequently trickle down to passenger cars.
But one innovation being introduced in passenger cars has caught the fancy of racing car makers. It is the Nissan’s Full Display Mirror. This technology first appeared as the ‘Smart Rearview Mirror’ concept for Nissan’s passenger cars. Using this mirror the driver was able to switch between a standard reflective mirror and a camera-based LCD with the push of a button. So if someone had cartons or crates stacked at the back of the car would have trouble with his/her straight sight line out the back. But the mirror solved this problem.
Now the same technology is being incorporated in Nissan’s latest Le Mans race car, the GT-R LM Nismo. This racing car had only side mirrors for the rearward visibility and the shape of the cockpit was such that a true rearview mirror wouldn’t have been of any use. In a sport like car-racing, even the smallest of mistakes in judgement can be fatal for the driver as well as the person who is behind him/her. Thus, Nissan called upon Gentex to develop a similar system for its racing division.
The concept is same. There is a traditional mirror which houses a hidden LCD screen. A rear mounted camera sends live video to that screen and hence drivers can have a real-time view of what’s behind them. The camera also features high-dynamic-range (HDR) capability to make sure that the image is crystal clear by allowing the image to utilize multiple exposures simultaneously.
Another important advantage is that this technology saves the driver from that uncomfortable glare that comes off reflected from the mirror when one has to drive at night time and the full beam of the person driving behind you hits your eyes because of being reflected from the mirror. The LCD screen not only saves the eyes from the glare but also gives the driver the exact position of the car behind. The mirror is a strong one considering the driving conditions faced by drivers. They drive through day, through night, in rains, in sunlight, then there are the matters of vibrations and critical speed etc. Everything was taken into account to ensure the safety and easy handling of the car and the driver. While on the road…. it is better to be safe than sorry!