Looking in the mirror to see the future
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Looking in the mirror to see the future

 

Photo : D.R. - Audi Communications Motorsport

On the 16th and 17th of June, Audi drivers will contest the 80th 24 Hours of Le Mans in prototypes equipped with digital rear-view mirror, that made its racing debut on the four Audi R18 at the WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship​​.

The mid-engined configuration leaves little room for a rear-view mirror. Audi has developed a digital mirror with an AMOLED display. A miniature camera located behind the antenna on the roof of the Audi R18, looks behind the car and transmits this digital view to the cockpit on a small screen instead of a traditional mirror.

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport) : "In the past, our drivers had to strictly rely on the outside mirrors when looking rearward. Yet the rear end and the rear wings plus the vibrations that occur at high speeds significantly limit the field of vision of these mirrors. The digital rear-view mirror gives us a whole host of benefits. 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 system was initially installed in an Audi R8 in which we sent Marcel Fässler and Marco Bonanomi out to test it in road traffic. Today, the system functions perfectly in the Audi R18 LMP race car. I’m sure that we’ll be able to return valuable findings to our colleagues in TE. We integrated the system into the vehicle package in an extremely small space and reduced the aerodynamic effects of the camera and energy consumption to a minimum. The intensity of the demands in motorsport, such as at the Le Mans 24 Hours, will cause such a system to mature at an accelerated pace. If the digital rear-view mirror is introduced in production vehicles at a future time. Our drivers came to highly value the digital rear-view mirror right on its premiere at Spa." At the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Audi achieved a one-two-three-four victory."

(Source: Audi Motorsport press information)

Photo : Audi R18 e-tron quattro seen from the digital rear-view mirror of an R18 ultra.