Audi tries new rear facing camera tech in Le Mans race car
Concept cars displayed at auto shows commonly omit a standard, time honored safety feature: the rearview mirror. In high tech concept cars, digital cameras and displays meant to replace rear and side view mirrors have become a standard innovation, despite the fact that the United States government has not yet approved any such safety feature for public roadways. Safety guidelines mandated by the United States Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration do not currently allow automakers to manufacture vehicles with digital displays in place of the required mirrors for use on state highways and city streets, but Audi has begun employing the technology in race cars, vehicles that are exempt from the federal safety requirements set forth for consumer passenger vehicles. The automaker’s most recent prototype for its R18 Le Mans racing car has been equipped with a digital rear facing video camera, protected by carbon fiber housing and affixed to the vehicle’s rear tail fin. The camera is linked to an active matrix organic light emitting diode (AMOLED) screen, which allows for a view of the vehicle’s rear inside of a cockpit that is completely closed off except for its windshield. The mid engined R18 Le Mans racing car does not have space to accommodate a rear window, so the new Audi prototype would offer Le Mans drivers their first glimpse of the road behind them.