While stand-alone camera display screens in the dash or at the rear view mirror have been available for some time, these displays either lack reliability and high-quality, are cumbersome, or are expensive and separated from the rear-view mirror. Most rear-view or backup camera display systems require an expensive center console LCD screen.
Gentex continues the quest to improve vehicle rear vision, particularly when backing up. The patented RCD, developed by Gentex in Zeeland, Michigan, seamlessly integrates a 2.4 inch LCD display into the center rearview mirror. When the vehicle is put in reverse, the RCD displays a rear camera image in an intuitive location within the regular rearview mirror image space. When turned off, the camera display disappears, and its “territory” becomes part of the normal mirror image. A recent National Highway Transportation Safety Administration study concluded that compared to sensor-based systems, camera systems have the “greatest potential for providing drivers with reliable assistance … while backing up.” A camera based system is the only effective way to see children, pets, or obstacles behind the car, that are not immediately visible in the rear view mirror or by looking out the back window of the vehicle.
Key challenges in developing the patented Gentex RCD included providing a display image bright enough to stand out against daylight coming through the windshield, keeping the power-requirement of the display to a minimum, and avoiding a ‘hole’ in the mirror image when the display is off. To meet these challenges Gentex leveraged its market-leading expertise in auto-dimming rearview mirrors by incorporating a state-of-the-art high-brightness LCD display behind the mirror’s ‘transflective’ surface.
The RCD not only extends an impressive string of Gentex rearview mirror-based enhancements, it also provides a platform for the future display of ‘heads-up’ driver convenience and safety information. The Gentex RCD was first implemented in the 2008 Mazda CX-9, followed shortly after by the Ford F-150, Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, and Lincoln Mark LT.