ZEELAND, MI--(Marketwired - Jul 28, 2016) - As Porsche took the checkered flag and logged its record-setting 18th victory at last month's 24 Hours of Le Mans, driver Neel Jani monitored the cars behind him not in a standard rearview mirror, but an intelligent rear vision system supplied by Gentex Corporation (NASDAQ: GNTX). The system captured video from a rearward-facing camera and streamed it to a unique mirror-integrated LCD display that provided the three drivers of the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid -- Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb -- with an unobstructed, panoramic view behind the vehicle.
Gentex is a leading supplier of vision-related technologies to the global automotive industry and an Official Supplier of Porsche Motorsports LMP1. The rear vision system it designed for Porsche was a unique racing version of the Company's Full Display Mirror (FDM) system, which is currently available for application on passenger vehicles.
"Porsche's racing success is legendary, earned through their engineering prowess and unprecedented attention to detail," said Neil Boehm, Gentex's vice president of engineering. "As you'd expect, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Porsche pushed our product to its limits and forced the development of a robust system that optimized the drivers' rear vision during the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We're incredibly proud to have played a role in Porsche's victory."
The Gentex rear vision system was affixed to both the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid, which ultimately won the race, and the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, which finished 13th overall and fifth in class. A total of six different Porsche drivers, including reigning endurance world champions Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber, drove with the system.
"The Gentex display mirror performed flawlessly," said Porsche Driver Mark Webber. "It was a huge benefit to all the drivers to have a such a clear, wide, unobstructed rearward view. Le Mans is incredibly demanding -- probably the most difficult race in the world to win -- and the Gentex system afforded a distinct advantage by providing the ideal rear view."
The passenger-vehicle version of the Gentex rear vision system consists of a hybrid Full Display Mirror that offers bi-modal functionality. In mirror mode, the product functions as a standard rearview mirror. But with the flip of a lever, the mirror enters display mode, and a clear, bright, LCD display appears through the mirror's reflective surface, providing a wide, unobstructed rearward view.
The two modes are essential, because should the camera or display become non-operational, the product fails safe and operates as a standard mirror. The driver can also switch between modes to accommodate usage preferences for various weather conditions and driving tasks.
The camera ultimately is custom-integrated into the vehicle's rear spoiler or trunk lid, a roof-mounted shark-fin antenna, or the CHMSL (center high-mounted stop lamp). It is ultra-lightweight, aerodynamically optimized, and can be heated and coated for better performance in adverse weather conditions.
The full display mirror system also uses Gentex-designed image processing software developed for high-speed data transmission.
Founded in 1974, Gentex Corporation (NASDAQ: GNTX) is a supplier of automatic-dimming rearview mirrors and electronics to the automotive industry, dimmable aircraft windows for aviation markets, and fire protection products to the fire protection market. Visit the company website at www.gentex.com.