Gentex, the Zeeland, Mich., supplier of mirrors and other automotive electronics, has added a new feature to its camera-based rearview mirror: a built-in digital video recorder that automatically preserves accident footage.
The first vehicle to use the built-in DVR is the Toyota Harrier, a RAV4-based crossover sold in Japan, Korea, China and other markets. The system builds on Gentex’s Full Display Mirror, which uses a rear-facing camera to project images behind the vehicle. To that, engineers added a front-facing camera as well as a slot in the mirror for the DVR card.
The system automatically records as much as two hours of driving video before overwriting the images with new video. If there is an accident, the system captures 20 seconds before and 20 seconds after a crash and saves the video as a separate file.
Gentex executives believe the system will appeal to consumers and fleet operators, including those with vehicles that have self-driving features. “As cars go to Level 3, 4 and 5, if my car gets in an accident, I have the ability to see what actually happened,” said Neil Boehm, Gentex’s chief technology officer. “In Japan and Korea, it is about tracking accidents and protecting themselves with information on what did actually occur instead of getting into a he-said, she-said situation,” he added.
The system is standard on most trim levels of the Harrier. As a stand-alone option, it costs roughly $830, said Craig Piersma, Gentex’s director of marketing.
Says Boehm: “The market for this type of product is really strong in the southeastern Asia market — Japan, Korea, and China. That’s where Toyota is starting and will gauge popularity. Things in the U.S. will evolve, but it will be a few years before it gets pulled in this direction.”
The Full Display Camera is available in North America on such vehicles as the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette.