Technology is changing many aspects of driving, even small things that are easy to take for granted. Like turning your head while backing up. At the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, Nissan will unveil the "smart rear-view mirror," which works as a conventional mirror, or as an LCD screen for a car's backup camera.

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A visibility-aiding camera is nothing new to the automotive world, but the images from these cameras are usually projected onto center-stack screens typically used for navigation and infotainment functions.

The novel aspect of Nissan's system is that it allows drivers to turn their rear-view mirrors into LCD monitors with the flip of a switch. Since the camera is mounted on a vehicle's rear bumper, Nissan says it provides a better view, even when seen on the same space as the mirror view.

The camera itself is a 1.3-million pixel narrow-angle unit developed specifically for this application. Nissan says the wide-angle cameras typically used in this application produce poor-quality images when paired with the LCD mirror-screen.

The smart rear-view mirror will debut on the Nissan ZEOD RC--a hybrid race car that will participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans this June--and other company racers. Nissan believes it will both improve visibility for the drivers and make cars more aerodynamic.

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The system will be available on production cars next year, and the timing seems appropriate given the current popularity of backup cameras. Moving the monitor to the rear-view mirror could make cameras easier to install in new cars, since space wouldn't have to be made on the dashboard for a screen.

For more 2014 Geneva Motor Show coverage, check out our dedicated hub.


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