competing at Le Mans are midengined monsters without a rear window. Drivers are obliged to check the side mirrors to see what’s in their wake— but those mirrors are often vibrating so much that drivers have at best a blurred view.
The digital set-up uses a tiny camera mounted on the roof to transmit images to the mirror, which is situated where a regular rear-view mirror would be.
Audi’s motorsport head Dr Wolfgang Ullrich says the system has obvious potential to improve safety. ‘‘ This gives us a whole host of benefits,’’ he says. ‘‘ The operation of the mirror is weather-neutral.
‘‘ By contrast, when using outside mirrors, heavy water spray (when it rains) severely impairs the drivers’ field of vision.
‘‘ For the new digital mirror, we worked out various day and night driving modes.
‘‘ Even when a rival approaches from the rear with high-beam headlights, the image is superb and not just a glaring light spot.’’
To achieve that resolution, Audi turned to AMOLED technology seen in the latest mobile phone screens.
The pixels have a diameter of 0.1mm, meaning more detail can be packed into the screen.
‘‘ Even at 330km/h we’re achieving a totally fluid image flow in real-time transmission,’’ Ullrich says.
At this speed, the R18s cover 92m a second.
Audi also uses the screen to display systems information such as gear position, tyre slip levels and some warning lights on the diesel-electric hybrid.
Tiny camera, huge impact: The race safety measure
could quickly filter down to Audi’s road cars