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Lexus ES 350 Gains High-Tech Cameras To Replace Mirrors

Technology / 9 Comments

Unfortunately, the US hates change and won't allow them.

For the 2019 model year, Lexus has completely reinvigorated the ES 350 with a new sporty flavor that has been absent from previous generations. The ES 350 looks like a compelling luxury sedan that we'd highly recommend, and will now come with an impressive piece of safety technology. Lexus calls it the Digital Outer Mirror, the first camera system to replace traditional mirrors on a production car. We've seen Audi test out a similar system on its upcoming e-Tron SUV, but Lexus was the first to actually put the idea into production.

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The system offers loads of benefits over traditional side-view mirrors. On the interior, Lexus has mounted two five-inch displays that will enhance the view around the car, even at night and in the rain. Since the displays are mounted inside the cabin, inclement weather such as rain or snow can not accumulate and pose a threat to rearward visibility. Forward visibility is also improved because the camera housings are smaller than traditional mirrors, which will also decrease wind noise and increase aerodynamic efficiency.

When the driver triggers the turn signals or puts the car into reverse, the cameras are able to extend the field of vision and even "call out" hazards such as cars in a blind spot. The system will debut in October on the ES 350, but sadly won't be available outside of Japan.

The US has strict laws regarding automotive safety, which have slowed down progress and kept us from having cool technologies like these digital mirrors or Matrix headlights from Audi and BMW. When the Audi e-Tron finally goes on sale in the US, it too will have to abandon its cool digital mirrors in favor of standard ones - other markets will receive the awesome digital units. If you are as outraged as we are about the US's strict regulations, be sure to contact your local lawmakers to lodge a formal complaint.