Cars and trucks used to be square, with large windows and thin pillars, and outward visibility wasn’t a problem. However, as today’s car buyer is looking for style, safety and efficiency, automakers are designing vehicles that are not only more aerodynamic, but more resistant to impacts and rollovers with wider, beefed-up roof pillars.
Backing up in a new car is definitely more of a challenge than it used to be, and these companies compensate with technology such as park sonars and cameras. Luxury brand Cadillac is taking those innovations to a new level with their Rear Camera Mirror.
Instead of a conventional rearview mirror, this new unit displays high-resolution streaming video of what’s happening behind the vehicle, thanks to a discreetly mounted camera system. According to General Motors, this trick mirror improves the field of vision by as much as 300 percent, as it removes obstacles such as pillars, headrests and rear-seat passengers’ heads.
Since the rearview mirror is actually a 1280 by 240-pixel TFT-LCD screen, its can display the image of the car’s rear surroundings while reducing glare caused by direct sunlight, even compared to a conventional, auto-dimming mirror. As for the HD camera itself, it includes a hydrophobic coating that will help keep it clean when it rains. However, we have yet to test this new feature in slushy, dirty winter conditions.
And if the camera gets too dirty or malfunctions, the driver can simply flip a toggle on the unit itself, revealing a traditional, electrochromatic rearview mirror.
“The closest comparison to this kind of rear vision would be driving a convertible with the top down,” says Travis Hester, executive chief engineer for the 2016 Cadillac CT6. The brand’s new full-size is the first model in the line-up to benefit from this technology.