Introduction

The use of internal monitor, Series-head -up-display on wind screen and Google Glasses Technology are convenient and helps put the driver’s concentration on the road. The frequent looks at the car behind using the side mirrors causes concentration split that is likely to cause accidents.(Lowe, 2005) The improvements in the mirror are eye catching and brilliant to the least but the principal problem in mirrors has not been solved through mirror innovations. The need for a mode of monitoring external environment fully while driving is the main reason why new technologies are preferred to mirrors: they minimize blind spots and maintain driver concentration.

Objectives:

  1. Give a brief outline on Mirrors and evolution
  2. Give a guide to other types of view technology and trends
  3. Investigation of Cars Mirrors trends from its history to future use.
  4. Constructing Mirrors future scenarios
  5. Describing future scenario technical problem and its solution
  6. Furthermore, from the three scenarios one will be selected and explained. The selected scenario (Internal monitor) was selected from scenario 3 which is the use of new view technology in cars. Description and details of the scenario will be shown on how the innovative product works. Finally, social, economic, political and technological impacts will be examined with an outline of how the technology product can be protected from being copy or used by other business.

Trends Research

Photograph of Ray Harroun’s Marmon

Marmon, Harroun’sracecar, recorded as the first car with a rear mirror in the Indianapolis 500 race, as Bhopal &Asthana (2002) trace back the history of automobiles in detail. The car, commonly known as the ‘wasp’ had the mirror mounted on its display’s struts. He claimed that he got the idea from observing its use in horse drawn carts. Although Harroun who made it a reality; Elmer Berger is credited with its invention as he was the one who developed it commercially.(Popular Science, 1970).

The earliest mirrors were hand held and the driver had the option of checking the mirror on his own or asking the passenger to it on his behalf. This appears a crude it was a significant improvement from the previous practice were one person sat on the back seat and observe the rear for the driver and relay it back.(Mirror)

 Although this was a breakthrough the increased number of cars on the road led to manufacturers mounting the mirror permanently on the car. The original preferred position by the manufacturers was the dashboard, but drivers didn’t prefer it as one could not see with passengers on the back seat. This led to them being shifted to roof near the windshield and this proved effective. Later on, it was shifted to the side, on the fender and A-pillar to make it easier for the driver to use without having to elongate the neck (Looking behind us . . . the history of the rear view mirror, 2009).

A wing/side mirror, usually fixed on a vehicles exterior is the mirror that helps the motorist see behind and side areas of the driver. These areas are not visible to the driver referred to as blind spots. Mirrors have evolved from the days of non-planar and multi radius mirrors. These types had major shortcomings, which forced the regulators to ban them from use. The mirror fixed on the A-pillar of the car although some makers prefer them on the fender. Mirrors are convex, planar, and aspheric, possessing different strengths and weakness. (Bhopa & Asthana, 2002).

Magna Donnelly, the world’s leading company in the design and manufacture of automotive mirrors systems and complex sensor products for majority of the automotive companies, says there are two to three additional mirrors added to every car or track build in the world to ensure safety in today’s heavy traffic conditions.(Brue l& Kjaer 2003).

Electro chromic mirrors:-these mirrors use superior sensing technologies to notice headlight glare and from trailing vehicles and the electro-chemical process to dim the mirror routinely. This helps in eliminating the glare that makes night driving difficult.

Due to the weaknesses in the mirror, in terms of not being able to eliminate the blind spots, innovations into improving the situation are underway. In fact, executive car models have them already installed. Telematics, as called are the preferred choice. General Motors incorporated interior monitors with its software GM’s On Star consumer telecom systems. This enabled GPS and automatically relayed information for roadside assistance in the event the airbag is activated. Every company, with Magna leading the pack is doing extensive research on these.

1.     Past

Mirrors dominated the entire 20th into the 21st century. Having been invented in the early 1900, mirrors still provide the driver the ability to see object that are behind him, as discussed by Scharff (1990). Mirrors used in automobiles have improved, from the day where planar mirrors were the best option to now where electro chromic ones are available. The evolution has been studied over the years, with the planar replaced with non-planar to planar mirrors. This triggered by the fact that non-planar mirrors show a distance shorter of the image as compared to the planar due to reflection effect. This non-planar were the convex and aspheric mirrors. The greatest advancement in mirrors was the ability to reduce the glare effect at night by use of electro wetting (Bradford, 2010).

2.     Now

Today, the rear view mirror works not just a mirror but as a LCD screen, a camera and even a personal computer screen. The side view mirrors can be adjusted from the inside of the vehicle and are fitted with turn light signals on the rear portion of the frame. Of course, the basic design of the mirror remains the same. The use of reflective glass has remained unchanged and no other option seems viable as on date (Henderson, 2009).

These props up the market for internal monitors, for their obvious superiority over the mirrors, with developments made to improve the prototype daily. Augmented Reality (AR) is taking up the interior design of automobiles today, with designs of the monitors originating from CAD designs. The navigation systems in use have 2-D graphic service and utilize telematics and ITS (Intelligent Transport Service), increasing the demand for these services. Cars installed with cameras and live video devices capture the information around the car and upload it into a remote computer that analyses the data to provide the driver with the information they require. This information involves accident and traffic update, navigation guidelines, and mappings (Bradford, 2010).

3.      Future

3.1.  Future scenarios

3.1.1. Series-head -up-display

Heads up display (HUD) is a technology initially used by the military in their endeavours.  This technology is currently being used in aircrafts and automobiles.  This technology lays over images on the inside of the windshield giving the driver of the vehicle an opportunity of viewing information on the display and at the same time their eyes are glued to the road. The unit for projection in a Heads up Display consists of a optical collimator setup. This is basically involves the installation of a lens with a light source coupled up with an image focus.  This is very helpful when it comes to assembling the light rays parallel which is an important aid to the human brain in the determination of distances.   There are mainly two types of heads up display which is the fixed mounted heads up display and the head mounted HUD. The difference is that one is mobile while the other one is fixed on the windscreen (Henderson, 2009).

The heads up display has generated over time. Initially it used cathode ray tube for the generation of images on a phosphor screen. This technology gave birth to the light emitting diodes which employed the use of the solid state light source. The latest technology so far uses scanning lasers to assist in the display of images (Henderson, 2009)

Problems

When it comes to driving, complete alertness is paramount. It is of importance that the driver of a vehicle has access to pertinent information on a timely manner without compromising their full attention on the road. Distraction is one of the biggest enemies of driving.   Another problem is the field of view. This is the vertical and horizontal subtended the driver’s eyes. The images displayed in the HUD may vanish as a result of sunlight or darkness. Compatibility is another issue that would affect HUD whereby some windscreens are not compatible with HUD. Night vision is also important. HUDs should be capable of displaying during the night because cars are used both during the night and day and according to statistics, most accidents occur during the night as compared to day time.

The HUD also should be located strategically in a position whereby one can be able to view all of the road and at the same time view the display unit without loosing focus from the road (Henderson, 2009).

Solution

Some of the solution for the mentioned problems is collimation. This is all about alignment of light rays to a parallel position. To measure distance, the human brain interprets light angle and distance.  Collimation enables the driver to focus on both the road and the images. This is because the image appears to be out there. As long as one of the driver’s eyes is inside the eye box, the driver is able to see all that is contained in the HUD.  The development of displays with the ability to adjust either manually or automatically is important. They should have luminance and contrast to allow for good lighting with variations.  The incorporation of holographic image combiners, OLEDs incorporation, Lasers scanning, LCD image generators amongst others are important to in Making HUD better (Henderson, 2009).

3.1.2. Google Glasses

Google glasses are being developed by Google under a program referred to as project glass. This project aims at developing a head mounted display. These are a normal pair of eyeglasses which have their lens replaced by a heads up display. These glasses rely mainly in information collected on the internet. They can provide a driver with traffic information, weather updates amongst others. This is vital information necessary for arriving at specific destinations on time (Howard Baldwin and Ed Oswald, 2012).

The Google glasses are hybrid and act as a small smart phone. it provides hands-free access to a Heads Up Display, cameras, microphone, voice control, browser amongst others.  These glasses can enable drivers to get direction in case they are lost which surpasses the abilities of a rear view mirror. Most importantly, no one will notice that you are using your glasses as only the owner is capable of seeing. These glasses have not yet been released in the market for the public. Research is still ongoing for continuous improvement in order to come up with a masterpiece (Howard Baldwin and Ed Oswald, 2012).

This technology is referred to as wearable computing. A prototype is already being tested by the employees of the innovative company in the public domain before it goes on sale. The glasses will be powered by the company’s renowned operating system known as the Android.  This glasses give the driver immense opportunities, for instance when engaged in reverse transmission, the driver is capable of looking at the back using an installed wireless camera with the glasses without having to turn back his head (Howard Baldwin and Ed Oswald, 2012).

Problem

Despite the tremendous benefits that the purchase of the Google glasses gives the users, it has some problems. One of the major problems is that it is fragile. They can be damaged or broken easily. The glasses look brittle. With their high acquisition costs, consumers will want the assurance that the product they are purchasing will help them now and in future. They need to no if the glasses will serve their purpose and their life span. When broken, these glasses seize to be of benefit to the consumers. They become totally useless. The glasses might be heavy due to the additional weight of the battery. This is a major challenge as they need to be constantly connected to a power supply for recharge. Without power, they are useless (Howard Baldwin and Ed Oswald, 2012).

Solution

Some of the solutions to these problems are developing products that can withstand impact. This can be achieved through the production of quality products that give the users value for their money. Giving users one year product warranty on the purchase of the glasses will restore their confidence in the durability of the glasses thus generating a need to acquire them. Installation of light weight batteries is essential. The size that has negligible weight but optimum performance should be in place. These batteries should capable of storing charge for a considerable amount of time (Howard Baldwin and Ed Oswald, 2012)

3.1.3. Internal monitor

Internal monitors are small screens placed on the dashboard of the car. They are interconnected to several cameras which have the ability to see all around the car due to their strategic placements. Cameras have become a part of our lives.  They can be used for the pleasure, security, safety, information source amongst others. The reversing cameras which are usually placed on the rear of the car near the license plate area. A screen is placed on the dashboard giving the driver an exact rear view thus preventing on potential accidents that might occur as a result of not seeing what is behind you. These cameras can be helpful in viewing blind spots especially when exiting parking lots. These are areas that cannot be seen by the driver when they are driving through the aid of naked eye or a side mirror. This will save on many accidents that might occur while driving (Bradford, 2010).

It can be used to supplement the mirrors. There are instances whereby this camera can calculate the distance between your car and the cars behind, the speed they are moving at and the time they would take to hit your car. This is very useful in alerting the driver on a timely manner of the impending danger (Bradford, 2010). 

Cameras installed in your car can be used to catch thieves. For example a person enters your boot and gets away with your personal belongings without any authorization whatsoever from you. These cameras can take pictures and store them providing a leeway to apprehend the suspect and charge them in a court of law. This is usually referred to as anti-theft device. It is helpful when one lives in unsecure neighbourhood and also if you park your car in public places which is inevitable in the modern days (Bradford, 2010).

The car camera and live picture systems can be used to observe reckless behaviour and thus save lives. There are many instances whereby a personal car is used by another person. This could be the teenager going to school, the driver taking the children to school or even the wife or husband running some personal errands. A person might choose to over speed and drive recklessly or under the influence of alcohol. The cameras can record and this can be used to note someone who endangers their life and the life of others behind the wheels. Thus cautioning them or restricting them access to the vehicle as this might do more damage as compared to the good (Bradford, 2010).

Problems

Some of the major problems encountered in the use of internal monitors is in a motor vehicle is the initial acquisition of this devices. They are expensive to purchase and to install. If you buy a car that comes with these additional features, they will be more expensive thus blocking out many people from the dream of owning a personal car (Bradford, 2010).

The quality of the cameras varies and it is not easy to establish genuine from fake products. The acquisition of fake products might expose the car owner’s life and the lives of others at risk. This is through the display of vague objects, lack of any images at times, displaying wrong distance thus triggering the driver to act in a manner that is going to be of harm to them, the lives of others and even to the vehicle and other private and public property (lous, 2011).

Solutions

Some of the solutions to the problems encountered in the use of internal monitors are easy to solve. This can be through the production of internal monitors that are pocket friendly.  This can be achieved through the use of cheap but durable materials that are going to meet the needs of the users. The distributors of the internal monitors should give the users warranty on purchased products to restore their confidence on the quality of products they are purchasing (Bradford, 2010).

Materials

The internal monitor encompasses a number of materials. There must be the cameras mounted at strategic positions in the vehicle that are meant to enhance the field of view of the driver. This camera should have strong capabilities that allow them to capture images both at day time and night. They should also have options for optical zoom, high megapixels for clear images amongst other features.  For the cameras to relay images to the monitor, they must be connected using cables to the monitor. There should be a power supply of a battery. This will be used in powering the camera and the monitor to function effectively. This should be followed by the installation of power regulators. They are meant to stabilize the power supply of the car which is not constant. This will help avoid the constant breakdown of the system that is associated with power surge. The internal monitor should also include weather resistant materials. This will be useful especially when it comes to mounting the cameras. They are exposed to all forms of weather conditions. With a strong weather resistant material, the system can withstand most of its difficulties (Munchen, 2011).

The Internal monitor set up

The set up for the internal monitor is quite simple.  One requires a universal mounting bracket which is used to mount the camera. Cables are necessary for the interconnection between the monitor, camera and power supply. Wireless devices are not advisable due to interference from electromagnetic waves.  Installation should be done carefully to avoid malfunction or risk of shock.  The internal monitor should be set to NTSC or PAL to display clear pictures. The temperatures for operation should be between -40%u2070 c to +80%u2070 c.  The monitor should be properly mounted to avoid vibrations which might affect the driver’s vision and ultimately spoil the monitor (Munchen, 2011).

The Process and design

The process and design of an internal monitor system for an automobile is quite simple. It requires a minimum of four cameras that are going to be strategically located. The many cameras are intended to increase the field of view of the driver thus reduce on the blind spots. Connecting the cameras directly to the power supply of the car shortens their lifespan because of power surges.  Thus a regulator is necessary to stabilize on the output current flow.  The regulator connects directly from the automobiles power source which is the battery. It is the power source for both the camera and the monitor. When the power is stable, the monitor performs at its optimum. This is because the regulator is able to give out only the required camera by the monitor, not less or excess. This is usually 12v or 24v for large displays.  This applies to the cameras (Bradford, 2010).

Flow design for internal monitor

Product Protection

Before construction of Internal Monitor can take place, the innovated idea of the internal monitor system must be fully protected by law. This will prevent other people and business from stealing or claiming to have designed or to the concept of the design. Four ways to ensure that the idea of the structure of the Internal Monitor device cannot be claimed by other is by:

  • Patent
  • Trade Marks
  • Designs &
  • Copyrights

These four steps will ensue that the design will be well known amongst businesses. If the design is well known it could increase its market value and also attract investors.  

Design

Registering the design of the Internal Monitor is very important as it protects the idea of the product. When registering, the design will include descriptions of the structure, measurement, shape and also patterns. Claiming the design will make the public aware of it and can be easily distinguished from other designs. The design can only be registered if the product is original or new and registration can last up to 15 years (INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, n.d).

Patent

Patenting is another way of registering the innovative concept of the Internal Monitorat the in cars. If the product is patent it falls under the category of an improvement to an existing product. The advantages of registering for a patent are that no one else will be able to use your design as you alone have the rights and license to the invention. If a business or anyone tries to employ your design, you have the rights to take a legal act. The patent can also be an advantage if the product was to be sold or bought to be used by business or industry (INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, n.d).

Copyrights

New Zealand does not have registration for copyrights, so it is always important to notify the public of the product through a signature sign or mark. The most common and basic sign of a signature mark is a © symbol, this will then be followed by the owners name and year.To ensure that the design and construction details of the Internal Monitor cannot be claimed, the owner must have original work like documents, prototypes, drawings and other complete evidence to prove that he or she is entitled to the products rights (INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, n.d).

Conclusions

Technology and most of all the internal monitor has completely changed the way automobiles operate. Internal monitors come with an array of benefits to the driver. It offers a digital platform for the vehicle control on top of its basic function of viewing the road. If misused, it can have hazardous effects to the driver risking his life.  Technology in automotives has come a long way, from the days of carrying a passenger for the purpose of checking on oncoming vehicles, to the era in which spectacles will be used to have rear, side and front view simultaneously switching in between by the use of voice.  This will not be the stop of new developments but rather a beginning of other innovative creation. No one knows what the future holds in the technology field but we sure know that is will be bigger and better (Henderson, 2009).

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