Side mirrors and rear-view mirrors weren’t that sexy anyway, right?
As Tesla is finding out the hard way, to be a successful and accident-free driver, one must be able to see any possible danger coming from a long ways off. Accomplishing this means using tools to minimize blind spots and helping drivers better take in visual information quickly. For most of the automobile’s existence, mirrors have served this purpose without much complaint. Of course, like most other useful devices in the modern world, things are about to get quite a bit more complicated.
In the future, mirrors will vanish from front doors and even the wide center mirror that lives adjacent to the driver’s head will soon see its end. In place of reflective glass will be video cameras, and to help pave the way for this change, Japan has just become one of the first countries to allow automakers to sell cameras in place of mirrors. The switch over to cameras is already old news. Without them, cars can become more aerodynamic and owners have the added benefit of never having to adjust the cameras. Without pillars blocking the view, a mirrorless car is also safer than reflective counterparts. The change has already been taking place since new cars are required to feature backup cameras to supplement the imperfect rear-view mirror.
Currently, Honda and a host of other automakers are preparing consumers for the expected shift by adding cameras into the side mirror housing units to get drivers accustomed to looking at the center screen instead of the mirror when turning. Unfortunately, getting drivers acquainted with the tech isn't the only problem that automakers face. Companies like BMW, Tesla, and Nissan have petitioned for laws requiring mirrors to be relaxed. If mirrorless cars end up being a success in Japan, we can expect the technology to become mainstream. Some even speculate that the US will see the technology as early as 2018, the same year that the NHTSA expects automakers to have backup cameras as standard on all models.