Screenshot: Auditography (YouTube)

We’ve been seeing concept cars featuring cameras in place of traditional side-view mirrors for what feels like forever, and here’s another one! The 2020 Audi E-Tron SUV concept has them too, and these are probably the closest to a production set up we’ve seen so far.

I’m still not convinced replacing a perfectly fine mirror with a an entire camera and screen system is necessary or even wise, but seeing Audi’s latest tech in practice has brought me around to think that this won’t be a horrible idea.

Here’s about two minutes of fancy video from Auditography on YouTube for the electric concept SUV, with about 20 seconds of nice virtual side-view mirror action at the end:

The placement of the seven-inch touchscreen panels is logically just beneath where the side-view mirror would normally be, and it seems bright and clear enough to suitably show the driver what’s going on outside.

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It being adjustable by touch is interesting and seemingly intuitive, if perhaps just a little bit fidgety. There’s also preprogrammed camera settings for parking, turning and highway driving. The system does seem just that much more adjustable than a traditional mirror, and I’m surprised at how functional it seems to be.

I was going to say that the size of the external camera setup seems a little large for what I imagined possible given some of the concepts we’ve seen, but it’s ultimately smaller than a mirror, which is actually why Audi is going through all this trouble.

Audi claims a major reason behind its development of this side-view camera technology is the reduction of wind noise in the cabin for its electric vehicles. Old rudimentary mirrors make a lot of noise when the car is driving down the road, and it would be even more prevalent and potentially annoying in an electric car which has no engine noise.

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The 2020 Audi E-Tron SUV with have 429 horsepower with a range somewhere around 250 miles (according to the European test cycle) from a 95 kWh battery pack.

Despite current lobbying efforts by the automotive industry, the system will go into production on E-Tron models sold outside of the U.S., and we’re stuck with the large, noisy mirrors. Give us time, we’ll catch up.

Via Autoblog!