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.
Electric mobility couldn’t only be eco-friendly, but could also be dynamic and emotional. This was proven by the new Audi R8 e-tron, which is powered by two electric motors that could deliver 280 kW (380 hp) of output and 820 Nm (604.80 lb-ft) of torque. Getting their juice from a large 48.6 kWh battery pack, these powerful electric motors allow the new Audi R8 e-tron to sprint from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in just 4.2 seconds and reach a limited top speed of 200 km/h (124.27 mph). This battery pack is large enough to allow the new Audi R8 e-tron to travel as far as 215 kilometers (133.59 miles).
Overall, the new Audi R8 e-tron tips the scale at 1,780 kilograms (3,924.23 lbs), and features a body structure weighing just 199 kilograms (438.72 lbs). At this weight, the body structure of the new Audi R8 e-tron is lighter by 23 kilograms (50.71 lbs) than that of the Audi R8 Coupé, whose lightweight nature is thanks to its aluminum-based ASF principle (Audi Space Frame). On the new Audi R8 e-tron, the premium carmaker employed the so-called Multimaterial Space Frame, which employs both carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) and aluminum.
The weight of the body shell is made up of 75 percent metal parts, 23 percent CFRP components, and two percent other materials. The R8 e-tron’s forward structure is made from mostly aluminum, with the occupant cell mainly composed of CFRP. The rear part of the structure, meanwhile, employs a combination of both aluminum and CFRP.
Meanwhile, the supporting trunk insert – made from CRFP – features corrugated crash structures that allow the rear module to absorb around five times impact energy than an aluminum lattice structure. On the other hand, the B-posts and rear bulkhead feature a new sandwich concept that substantially made them lighter by 11.5 kilograms (25.35 lbs).