BMW Introduces Side-View Camera System to Replace Mirrors

For decades, the side-view mirror has been the core of any motorist’s safety tools. Now, thanks to advances in machine vision, the side-view camera is on its way to becoming just as crucial.

This development has been a long time coming, but two factors have made it more likely. First was the National Highway Safety Administration’s ruling requiring rear-view cameras in most new vehicles by May, 2018.

The move has sparked interest in how side-view cameras could improve the driving experience.

The other factor? Dramatic innovations by BMW announced at CES

BMW Wows With New Side-View Camera Implementation

Although camera technology has long been equal to the task of enhancing drivers’ situational awareness, recent machine vision innovations are crucial to reducing road risks further.

The CES 2016 exhibit centered on a BMW i8 featuring a single-image side-view camera display synthesized from four cameras positioned throughout the car. This provides a clear, high-definition panoramic view that significantly reduces both side and rear blind spots.

The car is also equipped with two stereoscopic cameras that provide an extended rear view.

The i8 Mirrorless, as the model is known, relies on high-quality, low-cost camera technology only recently available on the market. The cameras are more streamlined and smaller than the mirrors they replace, positioned on standard struts off the doors.

Thanks to reduced weight, drivers also enjoy a range increase of approximately 1%. The adoption of Gorilla Glass and a built-in heating system makes the side cameras more weather resistant.

BMW's move will certainly motivate competitors in the automotive industry to seek even better ways to integrate machine vision camera technology into prototype vehicles. If they prove successful, the National Highway Safety Administration may even require them in new vehicles.