The Argus Rearview Mirror

Argus (Taipei City, Taiwan) is developing a hybrid rearview mirror system that is designed, in part, to eliminate the blind spots experienced with conventional rearview mirrors. The Argus mirror displays real time images captured by a rear camera and provides full and wide-angle views of the back of vehicles. The rearview mirror is illustrated in the photograph presented below.

The Argus hybrid rearview mirror.

A video illustrating the functionality of the Argus rearview mirror can be found at the end of this article.

The “e-Mirror” is composed of a TFT LCD display + mirror + rear camera.

The system is reported as able to boot up in about two seconds and as easy to switch between conventional mirror and display mirror modes.

The TFT LCD is normally black and has an 8.8″ diagonal and a resolution of 1920 x 480. It is backlit by LEDs that produces an image with a brightness up to 1300 cd/m². One touch can adjust the display to three different levels of brightness:

  • High (when it is sunny and the ambient is very bright)
  • Medium (when the ambient is relatively grey)
  • Low (when the ambient is dark or a less bright image is preferred)

The rear camera has a resolution of 1920 x 1080. It captures an image over a 210º diagonal field of view (180º (H) x 108º (V)). Features claimed for the camera system include the ability to see beyond a rear seat filled with passengers or cargo and below the vehicle’s rear window. The image is reported as good at night, in low light environments and against a background of bright headlights.

One further claim comes with some caveats. That is, the ability to obtain a good image during poor weather conditions. Company literature explains that it is possible to use Argus on rainy days. This is due to the fact that the rear camera has waterproof and anti-dust treatments with an IP68 rating. However, in heavy rain, there might be temporary adhesion of water droplets to the camera lens when the vehicle is fast moving. It is, therefore, recommended that the driver switch to conventional mirror mode under such conditions.

The Argus rearview mirror can be operated through the use of a touchpad. It can be switched between several viewing modes.

  • Full view for use when driving fast or for far views.
  • Night view for use against back lights.
  • Backup view for use when reversing.

Argus does not use either the car battery or an internal battery for standby power. Rather, it is directly connected to the fuse box of the vehicle and automatically disconnects when the ignition is shut off.

Argus product development is ready to enter the PVT (Production Verification Test) stage, a step designed to ensure that the product meets quality requirements. This stage will be followed by mass production. At this time, Argus has obtained BSMI certification, the first of several certifications that are needed to commercialize the product.

The company web site lists eventual availability of three versions in the model A180 rearview mirror series distinguished by the type and number of available viewing modes. The prices of these models are not listed although the following comment is offered: compared with driving recorders, the Argus is definitely higher priced.

Argus states that the company’s biggest challenge is installation support. This is due to the fact that there are literally thousands of car models, making it is all but impossible to have only one standard for all vehicles. The company recommends that Argus be installed by a professional technician to prevent risk of electrical shock. Nevertheless, an installation guide and user manual will be included with the rearview mirror. An installation video is under development and expected to be released in the near future.

The company is currently using a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to obtain UL certification, complete product development and enter production. The campaign can be found here. At the time this article is written, 14 backers have pledged $4,709 towards an inexplicably low goal of $15,000. The project will only be funded if the goal is fully reached by July 30. -Arthur Berman