Virtual exterior mirrors are making their production-model debut in the Audi e-tron. Their flat support incorporates a small camera with a resolution of 1,280 x 1,080 pixels at its hexagonal end. Image brightness is adjusted automatically for the ambient conditions, such as when driving through a tunnel. A heating function protects the camera from misting over or freezing. Each support also incorporates an LED indicator and optionally a TopView camera. Compared with standard mirrors, the virtual exterior mirrors reduce the width of the Audi e-tron by 15 centimeters (5.9 in). They can be folded manually like conventional exterior mirrors.
Inside the car, the camera’s processed images are displayed on high-contrast OLED displays (OLED = organic light-emitting diodes). These have a diagonal of 7 inches, a resolution of 1,280 x 800 pixels, automatic brightness adjustment and proximity sensor technology. If the driver moves their finger toward the surface, symbols are activated with which the driver can reposition the image. A switching function allows the driver to also adjust the virtual passenger-side mirror.
Thanks to the sophisticated image processing, the displays provide a significantly better image than a conventional mirror in certain situations, such as in direct sunlight. The mirrors adjust automatically to three driving situations: highway, turning and parking. The highway view appears when the driver is traveling above 90 km/h (55.9 mph) and the navigation data reports that vehicle is on the highway. The field of vision is reduced so that the driver can better estimate speeds when driving fast – other vehicles then appear larger in the display. If the driver signals an intention to turn or change lanes by indicating, the indicator view extends the image detail on the relevant side. This reduces the blind spot. If the driver selects reverse, the curb view improves visibility for maneuvering and parking. The image is extended downward – similar to the automatic lowering function with a conventional exterior mirror. The display visualizes the turn signal as a green contour on its outer frame and also displays notifications from the Audi side assist lane-change assistant and the exit warning.