Nissan ready to sell its first “smart” mirror image

With sales due in 2015 – at first in Japan – Nissan is moving with a new chapter in the history of… well, mirrors.

For decades, while the cars have evolved tremendously, bits and pieces of the cars stayed the same – the rear-view mirrors for example. The Japanese automaker is set to change that aspect with its prototyped Smart Rearview mirror – fitted at the moment on ordinary, production ready Rogues.

The internal rear mirror has been changed to a slightly larger version, which gives the choice of using it just as any conventional one, or, by flipping a switch, turning it into essentially a monitor. A camera positioned on top of the Rogue’s back window feeds video images to the mirror, which brings numerous advantages – the driver has an unobstructed line of sight, no matter what’s in the back seat, in the cargo area or if the car has a tiny rear glass.

“The real opportunity” for the system, says Nissan spokesman Steve Diehlman, “will be in sports cars like the Nissan 370Z, where you have just a slit of a rear window,” or in vans lacking the rear window altogether.

The Smart Rearview Mirror system will be optionally available in Japan for the 2015 model-year and the automaker plans to bring it to the US in a few years. The camera that shows images can be tilted and there are buttons to adjust the contrast – with the system being especially useful in scenarios like driving at night in low-lit areas.