Automakers in Japan have been allowed to sell cars with cameras instead of mirrors since June 17th, Automotive News reports. Could this be a major step in the good and pure direction of the destruction of mirrors, the bane of humanity’s existence?
Sideview mirrors are just heavy, big, drag-inducing protrusions that need to go away. And the rearview mirror is only as good as your car’s rearward visibility which, in this day and age, is probably piss-poor thanks to the enormous pillars needed to pass roof crush tests.
So why not replace the side mirrors with cameras that can tuck right against the sheetmetal to reduce drag? And why not replace that rearview mirror with one with a wider view and devoid of blindspots? Well, it looks like we’re headed down that path.
There are already cars on the U.S. market with rearview cameras (the Cadillac CT6, for example), but those mirrors are hybrids that can also act as traditional mirrors. There aren’t any truly mirrorless cars for sale in the states, and very few available worldwide. But Japan now has cleared the way for completely mirrorless cars, and Automotive News says the E.U. is expected to follow suit next year, with the U.S. lagging behind in the 2018 timeframe.
To get in on the mirrorless trend, suppliers like Japan’s Ichikoh Industries and Germany’s Bosch are getting ready to meet demand. Ichikoh told Automotive News about their plans to gear up for mirrorless tech:
There is a switch of technology, a kind of rupture...It’s a really new segment with higher content, and that means higher revenue opportunities. This is the trend, and we have to be in front of the others.
Bosch, which doesn’t even make mirrors today, is trying to get in on the tech as well. They told the news site: “The technology is not the issue...It’s up to the legislation. We don’t make mirrors, but we could make the replacement for mirrors.”
Gentex and Continental are other suppliers working on camera-based mirror replacements, and who knows how many other suppliers will jump on board. After all, Ichikoh predicts that in the next seven years, 29 percent of the Japanese market will have video-based interior mirrors.
And considering the benefits of mirrorless cars—the fact that the cameras can adjust for poor lighting and rain, reductions in aerodynamic drag, styling implications, and potential weight reduction—there’s plenty of reason for these camera-based systems to take hold in markets across the world.
Of course, there are still legislative hurdles to navigate and standards to be devised, but with Japan leading the charge, it might be the beginning of the end for the dastardly scourge of reflective pieces of glass glued to your windscreen and hanging off of your A-pillars.