The year was 2016, and Cadillac had just announced the 2016 CT6 sedan – the crown jewel of GM’s vehicle portfolio that was part of a strategic push to bring Cadillac back to greatness, a plan that – at this point – seems to have been crippled. Regardless, the CT6 introduced a very innovative GM technology: a Rear Camera Mirror, which replaces the traditional rear view mirror with a video feed that eliminates all obstructions associated with a typical mirror while delivering improvements in rear visibility. Now, GM is introducing the second generation of the system that delivers various improvements over the last-generation model.
How It Works
The GM Rear Camera Mirror is the result of at least 10 patents – one for the streaming video mirror and nine for video processing. The patents cover innovations in the wide field of view camera image calibration, de-warping, glare reduction and camera hardware design.
A specialized camera mounted at the rear of the vehicle provides a live stream video to an LCD display located in the mirror. Light and sharp imagery is made possible by the camera’s high-dynamic range, while the lens itself is covered in a hydrophobic coating that repels water during wet driving conditions.
The result is the elimination of potential objects obstructing the rear headrests, pillars, roof, and passengers sitting in the rear seat, along with a 300 percent increaser in rearward visibility roughly four times greater than that of a traditional mirror. Those who aren’t keen on the new innovation can simply “flip” the mirror down, reverting to a traditional rearview mirror experience.
For the 2018 model year, a rear camera washer was introduced to the Rear Camera Mirror system. The washer shoots a high-pressure stream of washer fluid on command to clear off dust, mud, snow, ice or any other item that could reduce visibility.
Now, GM’s Rear Camera Mirror is getting several upgrades – five, to be exact – that introduce the second generation of the system.
First up is the frameless mirror design, which is purely an aesthetic enhancement that makes the camera mirror more attractive. That’s probably the easiest way to differentiate between the two generations of the Rear Camera Mirror.
Second is a bump in screen and camera resolutions, from 1280 x 240 pixels in the first-gen to 1440 x 300 in the second-gen. Third are increased brightness adjustment intervals: whereas the first-gen system offered three brightness levels, the second-gen system offers five. In addition, drivers will be able to change the tilt of the camera as well as to zoom in and out, as needed.
Since its debut in 2016, the rear view camera has found its way into various GM vehicles. The upgraded, second-gen system was introduced in the 2019 Cadillac XT4 and 2019 Cadillac CT6, the latter of which will be discontinued.
|Vehicle||First-Gen Rear Camera Mirror||Second-Gen Rear Camera Mirror|
|Chevrolet Bolt EV||2017+|
|Chevrolet Silverado 1500||2019+|
|Chevrolet Silverado HD||2020+|
|GMC Sierra 1500||2019+|
|GMC Sierra HD||2020+|