Vi­sion­ary idea

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

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

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