Denso has developed a digital side-view monitor ECU (electronic control unit) which it says helps enhance the view for the driver and improves vehicle safety.

The new ECU is used in the new Lexus ES and which has become the world’s first mass-produced vehicle to be equipped with digital side-view monitors.

Digital side-view monitor technology is expected to help improve vehicle safety by increasing the view and enhancing the view in bad weather compared to conventional optical mirrors.

A digital side-view monitor system consists of cameras, an ECU, and displays. The ECU processes and controls the image captured by side-view cameras in real time based on various kinds of vehicle information, and presents images on the displays, one each on the left and right sides of the cabin, depending on the driving condition and the environment around the vehicle.

The ECU interlocks the monitors with the turn signal operation when making a left or right turn or changing lanes and the shift lever operation when backing up. Images from the left and right behind the vehicle are expanded to enhance the view for the driver.

In a road environment with different brightness levels, such as a tunnel, or a parking garage during the daytime, the ECU recognises the situation using information from the vehicle, such as brightness around the vehicle and changes in vehicle speed, and controls the camera exposure to provide a view that is suitable for the surrounding environment.