It’s not new, it’s long been an idea that has been considered by many vehicle manufacturers, to use a camera rather than a mirror. But unlike other proposals to eliminate the physical rear view mirror, Nissan is merely proposing an added rear view camera.
Nissan is at the top of the game when it comes to cameras. They’ve pioneered the Birds-Eye view around the vehicle for full perimeter awareness. So when it comes to proposing the idea for a simple rear view, it’s definitely nothing new. But who’s to say that you can’t just toss out the physical mirror for a digital one?
The NHTSA, that’s who. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is quite adamant that each motor vehicle must have a certain number of mirrors to accommodate as much rear viewing as possible. Of course there are vehicles like trucks and buses that do not have good rear view visibility, but they are mandated to have additional side mirrors.
So what is Nissan actually proposing? The Smart rearview mirror system places a 1.3 MP camera with a very wide angle lens at the top of the tailgate of the vehicle, offering the best position for a full view. The fact in this case is that the camera will be better than your current rear view, even if there was nothing blocking in the back seat. The function is enable with a simple rear switch on the mirror, chancing the entire thing into a video monitor.
Oh, yes, did you want to comment about the fact that the NHTSA doesn’t allow full motion video in front of the driver, while the vehicle is in motion? It does seem to put a strange spin on the distinction between the full motion of what is happening behind the vehicle and that of a movie. What if the movie is mostly scenes from recorded rear view mirrors?
Personally, I’m cheering for Nissan to push for this, although I may never own one of their vehicles. Sadly, as cool and likely useful an idea as this, it may be a long uphill battle for Nissan, but we can always dream about it, right?
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