Despite all the changes going on in automobiles lately, one thing that’s remained pretty consistent in every car been the rearview mirror. We can check that one off now though since Nissan Rogue is now equipped with the new Smart rearview mirror.
Due to roll out on the company’s cars in North America next year, it’s a simple augmentation that combines a traditional mirror with a video screen. Flipping the dimmer switch usually meant for night driving drops you into video camera mode, with a feed streamed directly from a 1.3MP camera mounted in the trunk that drops out the usual blockages from the car’s interior for a clear view of what’s behind you. Back up cameras are already common and highly necessary if you lack parallel parking skills, but is it time to change out something that’s worked pretty well for the last century or so?
A common situation like transporting people or cargo can interfere with a normal mirror easily. According to Nissan’s Steven Diehlman, the normal FOV of a rearview mirror is about 17 degrees, while its camera not only frees the view of the normal C-pillar obstructions, but also expands that to cover 48 degrees.
Since the camera is right at the back of the car, everything is suddenly close up instead of 5-6 feet in the distance. It easily became a part of the drive and not a distraction, and since switching back and forth between operation as a regular mirror is so easy, it could let others drive without even worrying about it (the focusing delay seen in the clip is from my camera, not the mirror).