The digital system was originally developed for Audi’s R18 Le Mans race cars, which, like the R8 e-tron, have no rear window. The digital system features a 7.7-inch screen in place of a conventional glass rear-view mirror, which displays a real-time image from a rear-mounted camera.
The ultra-lightweight camera is located in an aerodynamically optimised housing, and despite featuring a lens only a few millimetres in diameter, captures a much larger field of vision than a conventional rear-view mirror.
The images are relayed to an ‘AMOLED’ (active matrix organic light emitting diode) display – a first for a passenger car and similar to the those found on the latest smartphones.
The AMOLED display is thinner, lighter and more energy efficient than a conventional LCD monitor, and the organic materials used in the display are self-illuminating at low voltage, therefore do not require backlighting, making them easier on the driver’s eyes.
The display’s intelligent control system prevents dazzle from the headlights of trailing vehicles, and can be manually dimmed or deactivated by the driver at any time. Audi says it is working on incorporating more functions and additional information into the display in the future.
At this stage, the digital rear-view mirror system will be fitted exclusively to the R8 e-tron, although the technology is expected to filter down through Audi’s vehicle line-up in the coming years as it becomes cheaper, more advanced and more widely accepted.