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Nissan wants to improve the rearview mirror with cameras

At the touch of a button, the Smart Rearview Mirror can be toggled to display a wide-angle, high-resolution camera feed.

The Smart Rearview Mirror can display a rear camera feed on its integrated LCD. Nissan

Every concept car designer dreams of the day when your car's unsightly rearview mirror will be replaced by slick hidden cameras. Nissan brings us one step closer to that day with the new Smart Rearview Mirror feature.

At the touch of a button, driver can change the Smart Rearview Mirror's display from a conventional mirror to an integrated LCD that shows a video feed from a high-resolution, 1.3-megapixel camera located at the vehicle's rear end. Where the rear camera in your current car can only be used while reversing, Nissan's Smart Rearview Mirror will be available at anytime (which may create a tricky legal gray area with current US laws prohibiting video visible to the driver when the vehicle is at speed).

In the video above, the camera's display is used to see around a tall back seat passenger's head, but it could be just as useful for seeing around bulky cargo filling the rear hatch area. Additionally, Nissan's release tells us that the camera's view is wider and clearer than a standard mirror. Thanks to built-in image processing, the camera is able to enhance the rearview image quality in low-light situations, in the rain or snow, and possibly in the glare of direct sunlight.

Nissan has already proven to be camera crazy with its widespread use of the AroundView Monitor system in even its entry level models. The automaker states that it is "planning to introduce the Smart rearview mirror to global markets in 2015." We have no word if the US will be included in that plan. Japanese drivers will be able to option the camera as a dealer-installed option as early as this Spring.