Imagine a vehicle that has no rear window and no conventional rear-view mirror. Could that vehicle be called safe? Yes, if you are talking about Audi cars. The carmaker has brought a new safety technology that allows the driver to get an excellent view of the vehicle’s rear without a rear window and a conventional rear-view mirror. This technology is the ground-breaking digital rear-view mirror that is set to make its debut on the Audi R8 e-tron, which would enter small-scale production at the end of 2012. The digital rear-view mirror is a camera/monitor system that produces a consistent high-contrast, brilliant image.
The technology uses intelligent control system during darkness to prevent dazzle from the headlights of other vehicles. It also allows drivers to dim or deactivate the display at any time. Audi is currently developing a way to incorporate additional information on the monitor in future. Audi mounted a small, ultra-lightweight camera in an aerodynamically optimized housing. Even though it uses a lens with a diameter of just a few millimetres, it could cover a much larger field of vision than a conventional rear-view mirror. The images grabbed by the camera are then fed to a 7.7-inch screen color monitor, which is mounted in place of a conventional rear-view mirror.
The monitor, an AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) display developed by partner Samsung Display Co., Ltd, is the first of its kind fitted in a passenger car. The AMOLED uses organic materials that are self-illuminating at a low voltage, which means that they do not require backlighting. The AMOLED technology is currently being used in cell phones and similar devices in the consumer segment. Compared to conventional LCD monitors, AMOLEDs are more energy-efficient, thinner, and lighter. Switching times are also impressive as it just takes a few milliseconds regardless of the ambient temperature.