Magna develops camera-equipped mirrors

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Magna International Inc. The exterior sideview mirror combines a self-cleaning camera with a traditional sideview mirror to display a live video feed inside the vehicle.

Magna International Inc. has developed a pair of camera-equipped mirrors that allow drivers to see video of their surroundings as they drive.

It’s the latest development in the Canadian auto parts maker’s effort to gain a stronger foothold in the onboard camera market.

The ClearView system is designed to help improve visibility while changing lanes, backing out of a parking space or driving with a vehicle full of passengers or cargo.

The exterior sideview mirror combines a self-cleaning camera with a traditional sideview mirror to display a live video feed inside the vehicle.

The camera is mounted on the mirror beyond the widest point of the vehicle “to achieve a maximum field of view, enhance the driver's awareness and improve safety,” the company said in a statement.

The new hybrid mirror can also come equipped with turn signals, ground illumination and surround-view cameras.

Unobstructed live feed

The interior mirror features the ability to switch between a traditional rearview mirror mounted on the windshield and a full-size video display on the infotainment screen. The video comes from a live feed from a camera mounted at the back of a vehicle and provides an unobstructed view of what's behind. It’s designed to help drivers when passengers or cargo inside the vehicle restrict the driver's view using the traditional rearview mirror.

John O'Hara, president of Magna Closures and Mirrors, said in a statement that the new video mirrors “create a solution that increases safety and gives the driver more information about their immediate surroundings.”

Magna previously told Automotive News Canada that it sees onboard cameras as a significant segment for growth in the automotive supply chain.

It has been supplying automakers with cameras for about a decade but projects it to be an increasingly bigger piece of its business as autonomous vehicles gain acceptance and eventually, government approval.

Rapid growth

Magna Electronics Vice-President Joel Gibson said in March that the total market value for camera-based driver assistance systems is “growing very quickly” and he expects it to be worth about $10 billion per year by 2020.

Magna CEO Don Walker said in February at the Automotive News Canada Congress in Toronto that the company generates $450 million annually in all electronic components and plans to grow that to $1 billion.

Magna International is headquartered near Toronto. It ranks No. 3 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers, with worldwide automotive parts sales of $32.13 billion in 2015.