BMW came to the CES 2016 event with two i8-based concepts, along with other exhibits. Out of the two i8 concepts, neither had rearview mirrors, and now we know why.
However, this BMW i8 concept has no rearview mirrors for a reason: it’s a mirrorless car concept. As the name implies, the vehicle has lost its mirrors to a set of high-resolution video cameras. These cameras display their images in real time on a set of screens on board the car and have the potential of eliminating blind angles. Furthermore, the central rear view has a display that offers a composite view of the three cameras.
For a proper integration, the cameras are mounted on supports typically used for mirrors and bear turn signal indicators on the other side. Thanks to this idea, the replacements of the traditional mirrors bring an aerodynamic advantage to the already sleek BMW i8.
The other BMW concept shown at the CES 2016 event was an exhibit called the BMW i3 Extended Rearview Mirror. Unlike its sisters, the i3 had a single camera, mounted on the roof and facing the rear. The images captured by that camera were shown on top of the classic central mirror to improve visibility when reversing.
BMW hasn’t released any estimates regarding the odds of these technologies going into production, nor did it mention if they intend to further develop them. The German company isn’t the first to show a concept car that replaces traditional mirrors with a set of video cameras, but there’s still no production car with such technology currently available.
Our best guess is that such a mirrorless camera-based system has yet to be launched because it would further complicate vehicles and make them more expensive without any weight savings. Furthermore, the system would need more parts that would have to be developed to sustain years of use in all kinds of conditions.
The safety benefits are also under question because a classic mirror can work even if it has a little dirt, ice or snow on it, but a small camera would quickly be rendered useless in a less than perfect environment. BMW’s system uses Gorrilla Glass for the cameras and also has a heating system to prevent ice and snow deposits.
We would also like to add that most vehicles can offer a pretty good rearview with their built-in mirrors if they are properly adjusted. Sure, there’s a small blindspot, but automakers have already developed systems that monitor the usual blindspots and are already working on technologies to avoid collisions with vehicles the driver can’t see. By: autoevolution