Mirror image

The Audi virtual mirrors take the traditional ‘wing mirror’ to a new technological height. 

Aerodynamic design, superior visibility and a completely new technological experience, the Audi virtual mirrors are a world first for volume production.

28 December, 2018

The new Audi e-tron brings with it a raft of new technology, from all-electric quattro, to clever energy recuperation and superb aerodynamics and aeroacoustics. But perhaps the most obvious at a glance is the option of virtual side mirrors, which completely reinvent the concept of side or wing mirrors on a vehicle.

Offered for the first time in a volume-production vehicle, the Audi e-tron’s virtual exterior mirrors are a unique combination of striking design and a highly technical and superior means of monitoring the road behind the vehicle.

Integrated into the hexagonal end of their flat supports is a small camera, whose images are digitally processed and displayed on high-contrast, 1280 x 800-pixel OLED displays in the transition between the instrument panel and the door. 

The design is such that they blend into the driver’s area’s wraparound concept, and the position of the seven-inch displays is such that the motion of ‘checking the mirrors’ remains largely unchanged, but the image contained on the screen offers greater detail and superior reproduction, particularly in poor conditions, over a conventional mirror.

With inclusions such as automatic brightness adjustment and proximity sensors, what is transmitted into the cabin and the clarity of the image can be adjusted. Also, if the driver moves their finger toward the surface of the touch display, symbols are activated with which the driver can reposition the image. A switching function also allows the driver to use their display to also adjust the virtual passenger-side mirror.

The Audi e-tron’s virtual exterior mirrors are offered for the first time in a volume-production vehicle

The field of vision is extended downward when manoeuvring and parking

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 or even wet and overcast conditins. The mirrors adjust automatically to three driving situations, whether it be on the highway, turning and parking. 

On the highway, the field of vision is reduced so that the driver can better estimate speeds when driving fast, with other vehicles appearing larger in the display. But if the driver signals an intention to turn or change lanes by indicating, the indicator view extends the image detail on the relevant side, thus reducing the blind spot. The field of vision is extended downward when manoeuvring and parking, with the display visualising the turn signal as a green contour on its outer frame and also displaying notifications from the Audi side assist lane-change assistant and the exit warning.

In addition to the safety and functional benefits of the virtual mirrors, their physical design also benefits the e-tron’s aerodynamics and reduces wind noise at speed – a particular benefit in a vehicle as quiet as the Audi e-tron.