Nissan showed off its new Smart View rear-view mirror as part of Nissan Product Day, a preview of all new Nissan vehicles. Smart View will appear first as an accessory, and it replicates what you see out the rear-view mirror but without the headrests, window pillars, luggage or people getting in the way.
Elsa Foley, product planner for Nissan USA and the appointed expert here for Smart View, said the system isn’t designed to replace rear backup cameras, it’s designed to be used while driving just like a normal rear-view mirror.
But she said it expands the field of vision, from 15 degrees through the normal mirror to 50 degrees from the Smart View camera. As well, because the monitor only replaces what you’d normally see through the rear-view mirror, it can operate at all times. It is not required by regulations to shut down during driving the way a backup camera must.
The view from the monitor is not only unobstructed, it’s brighter and easier to see. At night, the digital image processor not only improves vision in darkness, it also digitally processes approaching headlights to reduce glare. Foley said that means the Smart View offers better all-around vision than the regular mirror.
Interestingly, when you flick the smart view on or off, you also move the mirror just like you do when you flick the lever on old-style mirrors when bright headlights are approaching. Some optical trickery is what allows the display to look like a mirror one moment and an LCD monitor screen the next.
Smart View, which is already used by Nissan’s ZEOD-RC race car, will arrive as an accessory sometime for the 2015 model year.