BMW brought its i8 mirror-less concept car to CES 2016, demonstrating a functional camera system designed to completely replace side and rearview mirrors.
Implemented on a BMW i8, a car that already looks like it came from the future, the system took imagery from four cameras around the car, showing it as a single video image on a display where the rearview mirror would be. As I drove down Las Vegas Boulevard, I saw a surprisingly clear and wide panoramic view of traffic to the rear and sides, and with just a little time behind the wheel, I began to rely on this different view to see when it was safe to change lanes.
Side-view mirrors have been a standard, and mandated, feature in cars for decades, letting us see if the lanes next to us are clear. However, side mirrors notoriously leave a blind spot, which has caused many accidents. And while we've come to accept these odd protuberances on the sides of our cars, they hurt a car's aerodynamic qualities and create wind noise.
With the advent of inexpensive digital-camera systems, concept cars in the recent past have employed them to create a more cohesive design. In the BMW i8 Mirrorless, as the company calls its concept car, the side-view camera system moves from concept to something that could be considered a prototype, as BMW considers it a real possibility for cars of the near future.