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Transportation Technology

Will Cameras Replace Sideview Mirrors On Cars In 2018? 496

Posted by samzenpus
from the forget-the-blind-spot dept.
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Just the other day we read about how the Department of Transportation will require all manufacturers to include rearview cameras on all new cars produced after May 1, 2018. But there's something else auto manufacturers are pushing for, the ability to replace sideview mirrors with cameras in 2018. Tesla in particular is pushing for this to happen as traditional mirrors are bulky, and not very aerodynamic. That lump of plastic can cause surprising amounts of drag on an otherwise smooth car body. Camera units are much smaller and can be made streamlined, or even mounted nearly flush with the body, thus reducing aerodynamic drag. The idea has been around since the 1990s, and many concept cars have used cameras instead of sideview mirrors for years. But how will NHTSA respond? Is it finally time to ditch the sideview mirror?"
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Will Cameras Replace Sideview Mirrors On Cars In 2018?

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  • Somewhat cheaper... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bob_super (3391281) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @08:35PM (#46645039)

    When you see the cost of replacing a mirror, it'd be cheaper to have a camera and a 7" screen inside.
    On the other hand, night vision would suffer from having a screen on.

    And I know more than one person who has saved their cars' doors by having the mirror remind them how close they really were to that post...

  • What about aircraft? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Derling Whirvish (636322) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @08:41PM (#46645103) Journal
    I always wondered why aircraft don't have embedded cameras all around. One to observe the landing gear, one pointed at the tail rudder, one for each engine, one for the ailerons/flaps etc. No more guessing what is going on based on instrumentation and sending a crewman to look out the window to see if he can spot the problem. Easier to detect icing, snow load on the wing while on the runway, etc.
  • Re:nope! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:17PM (#46645423)

    You can have a wide-angle projection sort of like those convex mirrors on large truck mirrors, which only take a little experience to use properly. This would show all areas at a glance with no field of view limitation.

    You could also imagine a virtual-reality approach which at the limit could provide a virtual mirror in the location you expect, reacting to the driver's head position to act like a mirror while actually being drawn by a heads-up-display projector and an external camera. I wonder if you could get the benefit of a huge truck mirror without the forward-looking blind-spot that it usually creates.

  • by Rich0 (548339) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:27PM (#46645493) Homepage

    Airliners do have external cameras, mainly for taxiing (on some airliners the pilot is seated forward of the nose wheel and if you're in a tight spot it is very useful to actually be able to see under the plane and be able to just barely cut corners near the edges of the taxiways. Having cameras pointed at control surfaces isn't actually a bad idea, but they do have servos on them and their positions can be displayed in the cockpit.

  • Judging Distance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Roger W Moore (538166) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:44PM (#46645591) Journal
    I agree that field of vision is not an issue (or at least one that can be easily fixed). However depth of vision is a problem. Mirrors preserve depth perception 2D screens do not. Not being able to tell how close a car is in a wing mirror when overtaking is dangerous and will lead to accidents. You can't even judge from image size since camera's fields of view and screen sizes will vary between car models.
  • Fresnel lens (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Trogre (513942) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:56PM (#46645645) Homepage

    Not that it's necessarily the best for every single application, but I find a 15cm square fresnel lens stuck to my rear windscreen gives a much better picture than any camera system I have ever used:

    The dynamic range is practically the same as through the glass, so no squinting at nearly-black screens in summer time or having eyes burned out at night.
    The picture is on the actual windscreen, so I don't need to take my eyes off the "road" when reversing, or the rearview mirror to see what's behind me.
    The focus is significantly far that I don't have to wait a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to a dashboard-mounted screen. Not a problem for me yet, but human lenses do harden with age.

  • Re:nope! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DexterIsADog (2954149) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @10:07PM (#46645719)

    I think they should replace the rear-view mirror with a 180 degree "mirror" that's a real-time composite of around the car, like a convex rearview mirror, but without pillar reflections and such in the way. That's the closest to today's operation that makes sense to me. And with that, you'll *never* have something you need to move your head for.

    Ding ding ding! We have a winner. That's exactly what we should have. Also, a smart system could sense when any of those cameras stopped operating, and the others could fill in at least temporarily to cover the critical spots.

  • Re:nope! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bobjr94 (1120555) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @12:05AM (#46646293) Homepage
    Back in the 90's people started playing with cheap geo metros to see just how much mileage they could get (because 54mpg just sucks). They took of outside mirrors in a gas saving effort and gained around 3-4mpg. Course on a tahoe it might be 0.3 mpg, a civic 1.3mpg, it all depends on the weight and original mileage. They also put on smaller (narrower) tires, smaller alternators (or removed them altogether) and took out weight (door panels, spare tires).
  • Re:Why stop there? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Splab (574204) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @01:22AM (#46646559)

    I live in Copenhagen and drive a bike, I think replacing sideview mirrors with cameras is a horrible idea. If someone is driving around with a broken mirror, I can tell from a long distance, and I will know to be careful around that driver - if he breaks his monitor or camera and don't get it replaced, I will have zero "heads up" about his lack of information.

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