BMW files patent in Europe for HUD ‘virtual’ mirror

BMW has filed a patent with the European Patent Office (EPO) for a “virtual” mirror in head-up display (HUD) form, according to patent documents listed as released yesterday, according to forum i4 Talk.

According to the diagrams sourced by the website, the virtual mirror arrangement aims to perform the function of a conventional mirror, with a display device projecting images from exterior cameras on to a partially transparent mirror section on the side window. This would offer benefits for airflow over the exterior of the vehicle from not requiring a relatively large conventional mirror.

The diagram also illustrates that the resulting image would appear to the driver located as it would when a conventional exterior mirror is used, as shown by the dotted line towards the object tagged on the diagram (Fig.1) with the number 100.

While the BMW i4 has launched with conventional mirrors, the HUD technology could enable the use of slimmer exterior parts such as on the Concept i4 (right)

The English translation of the German Patent application documents state that “sensor information relevant to the vehicle driver is superimposed [upon] the display information,” such as when guide graphics are overlayed upon a reverse camera feed that aids the driver when parking.

Additionally, the HUD virtual mirror is also described as able to display the distance and the speed of vehicles about to overtake from behind, in order to aid the driver to more accurately judge the available gap and as a result, be better informed for manoeuvres such as lane changes. Additional functions described also include adjustable reflectivity and light permeability, in order to suit varying light conditions.

The just-launched BMW i4 employs conventional exterior mirrors, though the Concept i4 that was shown last year featured slim stalks that would seem to be a more probable candidate for the “virtual mirror” technology depicted in these patent documents. Two variants of the i4 are offered at launch – the 340 PS/430 Nm eDrive40, and the 544 PS/795 Nm M50 version.


GALLERY: BMW i4 eDrive40