Audi's digital rearview mirror is officially going from the Le Mans clobbering, race-only Audi R18 to the road-going R8 e-tron (click the image above to enlarge). Lacking a rear window put the R8 e-tron in the same rear-view challenged category as its racing brethren, and so has been provided the same solution.

The 7.7-inch AMOLED screen receives the feed from a tiny camera just a few millimeters across. The screen is dimmable, will automatically reduce the glare from the headlights of cars behind, and can be switched off if the driver just isn't with it. For now, it appears the screen will just display the camera image, but Audi says it's working on adding more information to the display in the future. You can find out more about it in the press release below.
Show full PR text
From motorsport to series production: the digital rear-view mirror

- Intelligent camera/monitor system ensures an ideal view
- New technology goes into series production with the Audi R8 e-tron
- Successful debut in the Audi R18 Le Mans race car


Ingolstadt, 2012-08-09 -- Audi is set to make driving even safer with a new technology: the digital rear-view mirror delivers brilliant images and is due to enter small-scale production in the Audi R8 e-tron at the end of this year. This model – like the current Le Mans winners – has no rear window and hence no conventional rear-view mirror. Its high-tech successor is the digital rear-view mirror – a camera/monitor system.

A control unit produces a consistent high-contrast, brilliant image. During the hours of darkness the intelligent control system prevents dazzle from the headlights of other vehicles. The driver can dim or deactivate the display at any time. Audi is also working on incorporating additional information on the monitor in future.

The small, ultra-lightweight camera is located in an aerodynamically optimized housing which is heated in cold temperatures. It uses a lens with a diameter of just a few millimeters and covers a much larger field of vision than a conventional rear-view mirror. A color monitor with a 7.7-inch screen diagonal mounted in place of a conventional rear-view mirror is used to display the digital image data from the camera. This AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) display, which comes from development partner Samsung Display Co., LTD, is making its debut in a passenger car. The organic materials used in the display are self-illuminating at a low voltage – i.e. they do not require backlighting. The AMOLED technology has already proved widely successful in cell phones and similar devices in the consumer segment.

The new displays are more energy-efficient, thinner, and lighter than conventional LCD monitors. Switching times are just a few milliseconds irrespective of the ambient temperature.

The digital rear-view mirror celebrated its dazzling premiere at the Le Mans 24 Hours in the R18 e-tron quattro and R18 ultra race cars which gave Audi a one-two-three win in the legendary race. The new system proved reliable even under the grueling race conditions.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 38 Comments
      kec2579
      • 2 Years Ago
      Would be nice to have this option from the factory on cargo/work vans.
      ScottT
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm kind of surprised that nobody has tried camera. for the side rear view mirros. Maybe I'm wrong, but I would think you could get some minor drag improvements by eliminating them and better coverage as well.
        Ducman69
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ScottT
        They can, but its not legal, they have to change federal law to allow cameras to be replacements for mirrors. Considering Texas law still hasn't been updated to allow an atheist to hold a public position in government, I doubt we'll see these antiquated laws changed anytime soon.
      Ak74
      • 2 Years Ago
      My friend got brand new audi and after 2 months his rear view camera stopped working he took it twice to the dealer and they still didn't fix it. So i think it's really is a stupid idea.
      over9000
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wouldn't trust Audi for bringing this into production given that they have terrible reliability with anything electrical...
      Andre Neves
      • 2 Years Ago
      More "dumb", unnecessary tech. Can't wait until they replace all the glass windows in the car with OLED screens with cameras surrounding the car. But seriously, and then people complain about soaring insurance rates. What do you expect when you have all these gizmos everywhere. In the event of an accident or theft, your rear view mirror will now cost $10,000 for your insurance company to replace.
        DasKopter
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        Its been done :p (sort of) go watch the movie Daybreakers. It only has LED screens though >.< damn them not investing in OLED! Its a blasphemy! http://i733.photobucket.com/albums/ww338/Crossfire007/Chrysler%20300C%202007%20Daybreakers/Chrysler300C2007Daybreakers2.jpg
      JayP
      • 2 Years Ago
      So how will women apply makeup while on the morning commute?
      Shahul X
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's about time people started adding this to cars.. I'm guessing the bashers also hate side blind spot assist and backup cameras... Sometimes ya Gotta evolve.. As for Audi reliability.. It's pretty good these days, keep up with the times. http://www.autoblog.com/2012/02/09/kbb-hands-out-inaugural-total-cost-of-ownership-awards-to-kia-a/
      briang19
      • 2 Years Ago
      Great, more LED screen glare... that's all we need.
      Radioactive Flea
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wouldn't worry about it. Most of you can't afford a A8 or an R10 anyway. And if you could, knowing VW it will be an 7k option.
      cmcilroy35
      • 2 Years Ago
      My rear window works even if the car is dirty, my back-up camera turns into a blurry mess.
        NicksGarage
        • 2 Years Ago
        @cmcilroy35
        But this car doesn't have a rear window as stated in the story. People with motorhomes use this kind of system all the time.
      anonymous guy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nice. When the car gets dirty while driving, you're not going to have a view to the rear because the lens will be obscured. I'd prefer an old-fashioned mirror. It's worked for a century, why change it.
        Dwight Bynum Jr.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @anonymous guy
        You people really don't read SH*T before jumping straight to the "Add a Comment" field, do you? Directly from the first damn paragraph -> "Lacking a rear window put the R8 e-tron in the same rear-view challenged category as its racing brethren, and so has been provided the same solution."
        Shiftright
        • 2 Years Ago
        @anonymous guy
        Yup...adding needless complexity in an effort to outpace their competitors, and being an Audi, another thing to break that will cost you hundred to fix.
        Gubbins
        • 2 Years Ago
        @anonymous guy
        Why change? Because, like automatic spark advance and hydraulic brakes, technology improves. There isn't a mirror made that can offer the viewing range of a good camera system. Try this, put a two year-old child directly behind your rear bumper...and I mean directly behind and slightly below the bumper line (they're small). Now, get in your car and look in the mirror(s). See the child/pet/object etc?
          anonymous guy
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Gubbins
          Try this, walk behind your car to check for objects before you get in and zoom away. Since you can see the rear spoiler of the car in the picture, that means you cannot see anything directly behind the vehicle that's below the line of the bumper with this system as well. You'd still need another camera to see that part.
        fuzzyfish6
        • 2 Years Ago
        @anonymous guy
        @Shiftright Hundreds?
      graphikzking
      • 2 Years Ago
      Whan happens when the lense gets dirty? Now you are going to have to add a high pressure spray and fan to clean it off. What a pain. Cargo vans and tractor trailers = YES YES YES! Passenger cars = Waste of tech. Give me a 7" dash screen instead of spending extra money on a rear view mirror. Backup cameras are cheap - but mfg's usually charge about $250-400 for a preinstalled system (usually as part of a package). I'd much rather them buy better tires for their cars and put the $300 towards that and possibly even a lighter weight aluminum hood/trunk or fenders.
        Ducman69
        • 2 Years Ago
        @graphikzking
        What happens when your rear window gets dirty? Now you are going to have to add a high pressure spray, motor mechanism, and wipers that have to be repeatedly replaced as the rubber wears out from UV degredation in a matter of months. *rolleyes*
        Ducman69
        • 2 Years Ago
        @graphikzking
        And there is no reason that your rear view mirror can't be part of your oversized dash screen, say the top portion. The only reason its placed up high is because that is where people are used to looking at their rearview mirrors. And the only reason the rearview mirror is up there is because it needed line of sight over the rear seats, assuming of course that you don't have passengers in the center back seat obscuring your vision.
    • Load More Comments