Cutting-edge safety features take advantage of the styling benefits afforded by housing complex driver-assist technology in the interior rearview mirror housing – a method of integration applicable to many vehicles
Gentex Corporation, the leading supplier of automatic-dimming rearview mirrors and camera-based driver-assist and lighting-assist systems to the global automotive industry, has announced that it is supplying auto-dimming mirrors with the company’s own SmartBeam lighting assist system, as well as auto-dimming mirrors with a camera-based driver-assist system for the new 2013 Lincoln MKS full-size premium sedan and 2013 Lincoln MKT three-row premium crossover.
The Gentex SmartBeam feature uses a relatively low-resolution camera to automatically turn a vehicle’s high beams on and off automatically according to surrounding traffic conditions. The Gentex driver-assist system uses a high-resolution, multi-function camera combined with algorithmic decision-making to perform Automatic High-Beam Control, Lane Keeping and Driver Alert.
The system was developed in conjunction with Mobileye, the global pioneer in the development of vision-based driver-assistance systems. In Lane Keeping mode, the driver is warned by vibrating the steering wheel, while the Lane Keeping function warns the driver by applying torque to the steering wheel to direct the vehicle back into the lane. Driver Alert monitors the vehicle’s lane position and can notify a driver of signs of inattentiveness with a coffee cup warning light that appears on the dashboard instrument cluster. Key components, including the camera and microprocessor, are integrated into a Gentex interior auto-dimming mirror.
“Both the MKS and MKT are part of the reinvention of the Lincoln brand, and it’s inspiring for us to see our auto-dimming mirrors as standard equipment offering these cutting-edge technologies through different packages on these models,” said Gentex senior vice president Mark Newton. “Drivers have the choice of purchasing the MKS or MKT with either our SmartBeam high beam lighting-assist mirror product or our mirror with the driver-assist package. This is a good example of the OEM providing the consumer with the choice of technology options that best fits their own wants and needs.”
Newton said the Gentex in-mirror driver-assist system that integrates this Mobileye technology was in development for over two years. He said that Gentex purchases an imager for which the Mobileye algorithms are specifically designed, and builds a camera assembly with it. The company also purchases a Mobileye EyeQ™ vision-system-on-a-chip that has Mobileye driver-assist algorithms in it, and then designs an electronic system with it that interfaces with the vehicle. The Gentex electronic system is housed within the interior rearview mirror and works with the Gentex camera assembly incorporated in the mirror mount.
“Having these driver assist systems finally hit the market with some volume is the culmination of significant development and testing at Gentex,” said Newton. “This is an important new technology area for us, and we believe that there are many vehicles that can and will take advantage of the styling benefits afforded by housing these complex systems in the interior rearview mirror housing instead of adding another box to the “sensor farms” that are showing up on the windscreens of other vehicle models.”
Auto-dimming rearview mirrors automatically darken to reduce glare from the headlamps of vehicles approaching from the rear. The brighter the glare, the darker the mirror becomes, making night-time driving safer.
Founded in 1974,
also provides commercial smoke alarms and signalling devices to the North American fire protection market, as well as dimmable aircraft windows for the commercial, business and general aviation markets. Based in Zeeland, Michigan, the international company develops, manufactures and markets interior and exterior automatic-dimming automotive rearview mirrors that utilise proprietary electrochromic technology to dim in proportion to the amount of headlight glare from trailing vehicle headlamps. More than half of the company’s interior mirrors are sold with advanced electronic features, and more than 98 per cent of the company’s net sales are derived from the sale of auto-dimming mirrors to every major carmaker in the world.