The rear-view mirror’s earliest known use and mention is by Dorothy Levitt in her 1906 book The Woman and the Car which noted that women should “carry a little hand-mirror in a convenient place when driving” so they may “hold the mirror aloft from time to time in order to see behind while driving in traffic”, thereby inventing the rear view mirror before it was introduced by manufacturers in 1914. The earliest known rear-view mirror mounted on a motor vehicle appeared in Ray Harroun’s Marmon racecar at the inaugural Indianapolis 500 race in 1911. Although Harroun’s is the first known use of such a mirror on a motor vehicle, Harroun himself claimed he got the idea from seeing a mirror used for the same purpose on a horse-drawn vehicle in 1904.
Elmer Berger is usually credited with inventing the rear-view mirror, though in fact he was the first to develop it for incorporation into production streetgoing automobiles.
Augmentations and alternatives
Rear-view mirrors are usually augmented with side-view mirrors on the driver’s and/or passenger’s side of the vehicle.
Recently, rear-view video cameras have been built into many new model cars, such as the Mazda Hakaze Concept. This was partially in response to the rear-view mirrors’ inability to show the road directly behind the car, due to the rear deck or trunk obscuring as much as 3–5 metres (10–15 feet) of road behind the car. For example, as many as 50 times a year, small children are killed by SUVs in America because the driver cannot see them in their rear-view mirrors. These camera systems are usually mounted to the bumper or lower parts of the car allowing for better rear visibility.
Wing-mirror Objects in mirror are closer than they appear
The phrase “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear” is a safety warning that is required to be engraved on passenger side mirrors of motor vehicles in the USA, India, Canada and Australia. It is present because while these mirrors’ convexity gives them a useful field of view, it also makes objects appear smaller. Since smaller-appearing objects seem farther away than they actually are, a driver might make a maneuver such as a lane change assuming an adjacent vehicle is a safe distance behind, when in fact it is quite a bit closer. The warning serves as a reminder to the driver of this potential problem.
A speedometer is a gauge that measures and displays the instantaneous speed of a land vehicle. Now universally fitted to motor vehicles, they started to be available as options in the 1900s, and as standard equipment from about 1910 onwards. Speedometers for other vehicles have specific names and use other means of sensing speed. For a boat, this is a pit log. For an aircraft, this is an airspeed indicator.
The speedometer was invented by the Croatian Josip Belušić in 1888, and was originally called a velocimeter.
The eddy current speedometer has been used for over a century and is still in widespread use. Until the 1980s and the appearance of electronic speedometers it was the only type commonly used.
Many modern speedometers are electronic. In designs derived from earlier eddy-current models, a rotation sensor mounted in the transmission delivers a series of electronic pulses.
GPS devices are positional speedometers, based on how far the receiver has moved since the last measurement.
A dashboard (also called dash, instrument panel, dial and switch housing or fascia) is a control panel placed in front of the driver of an automobile, housing instrumentation and controls for operation of the vehicle.
The word originally applied to a barrier of wood or leather fixed at the front of a horse-drawn carriage or sleigh to protect the driver from mud or other debris thrown up by the wheels and horses’ hooves.
Items located on the dashboard at first included the steering wheel and the instrument cluster. The instrument cluster pictured to the right contains gauges such as a speedometer, tachometer, odometer and fuel gauge, and indicators such as gearshift position, seat belt warning light, parking-brake-engagement warning light and an engine-malfunction light.
With the coming of the LED in consumer electronics, some manufacturers used instruments with digital readouts to make their cars appear more up to date, but this has faded from practice. Some cars use a head-up display to project the speed of the car onto the windscreen in imitation of fighter aircraft, but in a far less complex display.
Automotive navigation system
An automotive navigation system is a satellite navigation system designed for use in automobiles. It typically uses a GPS navigation device to acquire position data to locate the user on a road in the unit’s map database. Using the road database, the unit can give directions to other locations along roads also in its database. Dead reckoning using distance data from sensors attached to the drivetrain, a gyroscope and an accelerometer can be used for greater reliability, as GPS signal loss and/or multipath can occur due to urban canyons or tunnels.
Steven Lobbezoo developed the first commercially available satellite navigation system for cars. It was produced in Berlin from start 1984 to January 1986. Publicly presented first at the Hannover fair in 1985 in Germany.
Integration and other functions
• The color LCD screens on some automotive navigation systems can also be used to display television broadcasts or DVD movies.
• A few systems integrate (or communicate) with mobile phones for hands-free talking and SMS messaging (i.e., using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi).
• Automotive navigation systems can include personal information management for meetings, which can be combined with a traffic and public transport information system.
Automotive night vision
An automotive night vision system is a system to increase a vehicle driver’s perception and seeing distance in darkness or poor weather beyond the reach of the vehicle’s headlights. They are currently offered as optional equipment on certain premium vehicles.
• instrument cluster using a high resolution liquid-crystal display (LCD), newest type
• navigation system or information screen, least expensive and with display’s location further away from driver’s field of vision (used exclusively by BMW, and the W212 E-class)
• windshield via head-up display, earliest type, dimmer knob can reduce brightness, display nearest to driver’s line of sight
There are two types of systems, either passive or active systems, both have advantages and disadvantages when compared to the other.
General Motors began using head-up displays in 1988 with the first color display appearing in 1998 on the Corvette C5. Toyota, for domestic market only, in 1991 released this system in Toyota Crown Majesta. In 2003, BMW became the first European manufacturer to offer HUDs. The displays are becoming increasingly available in production cars, and usually offer speedometer, tachometer, and navigation system displays. Night vision information is also displayed via HUD on certain General Motors, Honda, Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Other manufactures such as Audi, Citroën, Saab, and Nissan currently offer some form of HUD system. Motorcycle helmet HUDs are also commercially available.
Add-on HUD systems also exist, projecting the display onto a glass combiner mounted on the windshield. These systems have been marketed to police agencies for use with in-vehicle computers.