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Nissan has detailed its Smart Rearview Mirror ahead of the technology’s debut at the Geneva show. The system involves an LCD monitor built into the rear-view mirror that provides rearward visibility courtesy of a high-res camera mounted on the rear of the vehicle.

A switch toggles between the LCD and a traditional mirror. Nissan says the LCD provides a wider and clearer view than a standard mirror, including of the vehicle’s rear flanks. This eliminates problems associated with thick and obstructive rear pillars, tall passengers in the rear seats or boot cargo blocking the rear window.

A clear image is provided no matter the weather, due to an image processing system that compensates for sunrise, sunset and even headlamp glare. The 1.3 megapixel camera is narrow-angle – Nissan says a standard wide-angle lens was not possible because the images, when adjusted to monitor size, produced a low-res image.

Conventional monitors have a 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio, but these could not be adequately displayed in a rear-view mirror, so an LCD with a unique aspect ratio of approximately 4:1 was developed.

“Smart Rearview Mirror will give our customers the best possible view no matter how tall the passengers in the back seat, or the road conditions,” said Nissan executive VP Andy Palmer.

“It also offers the possibility of new and exciting designs for our upcoming models because Smart Rearview Mirror is an alternative to a very wide rear window for good visibility. We’ll have the flexibility to create new shapes, and to further improve aerodynamics for better fuel efficiency.”

The Smart Rearview Mirror is set to be used first in the ZEOD RC and other Nismo race cars. Nissan plans to offer the system as a dealer option in Japan this spring, before it hits global markets from next year.