Earlier this week, Jaguar Land Rover unveiled some snazzy new technology that renders the pillars supporting the roof of a vehicle transparent, offering drivers a better view of their surroundings. Now comes word that Cadillac is working on something similar for rearview mirrors -- and unlike Jaguar Land Rover, Cadillac has announced when motorists will be able to use it.
The key to Cadillac's new tech toy is that it performs double-duty, acting as both a conventional rearview mirror and a high-resolution screen. As you can see in the images above, when used as a mirror, the driver's view is fairly standard, but when used as a screen, it receives high-definition streaming video from a camera placed at the rear of the vehicle. (Drivers can toggle back and forth between the two functions.)
When the camera is engaged, common obstructions like headrests, rear pillars, and other passengers are eliminated. Cadillac says that the video mirror improves a motorist's field of vision by about 300 percent. According to Cadillac engineer Travis Hester, "The closest comparison to this kind of rear vision would be driving a convertible with the top down".
But how can Cadillac ensure that the camera remains functional at all times of day and in all kinds of weather? For starters, the software underpinning it uses high dynamic range, which cuts glare and offers sharper images, even in low-light situations. And the company has layered the lens with a hydrophobic coating to ensure that water slides right off of it.
Best of all, Cadillac says that the new camera/rearview mirror system will be available to shoppers in about a year when it debuts on the 2016 Cadillac CT6.
Cadillac's new mirror/screen may not seem all that revolutionary. At first glance, it seems somewhat similar to the rearview displays found on many, many modern vehicles.
The difference appears to be that Cadillac's system offers sharper images and a far wider field of vision. And frankly, we love the fact that the display is situated not on the center stack, but in the rearview mirror, where we've been trained to look when backing up.
We hope to get a closer look at this technology in a couple of weeks at the Detroit Auto Show. Stay tuned.