The Audi R18 racecar now features technology that might one day make it into passenger cars like the Audi A8: a digital rear-view mirror. The new mirror was recently installed in the R18 and has proven to be a valuable tool due to car’s enclosed cockpit that eliminates rear visibility.
The rather simple solution starts with a camera mounted on the roof of the R18, just behind the antennas. The lightweight screen, which is placed where rear-view mirrors are typically mounted, features active matrix OLED (AMOLED) similar to what’s used on cell phones. AMOLED screens are praised for their color accuracy and high resolution.
“This gives us a whole host of benefits,” said head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “The operation of the mirror is weather-neutral. By contrast, when using outside mirrors, heavy water spray severely impairs the driver’s field of vision when it rains. 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.”
The reprogrammable screen can show information on what gear is currently engaged, the tires’ slip levels, and various other warning lights. The technology was developed by Audi’s Technical Development division and first tested in an Audi R8. Audi already uses the digital mirror in R18s that raced at the 6 Hour Spa-Francorchamps earlier this month. The results of that race? Audi swept the podium and the fourth place spot. The cameras will be put to the test once again in three weeks, at the Le Mans 24 Hour.