The benefits of swapping mirrors for cameras are demonstrated with increased vision and new hazard detection technology

BMW has revealed a new concept version of the BMW i8 that features cameras in place of its door mirrors.

Appropriately named the i8 Mirrorless, the concept demonstrates the large number of advantages that using wide-angled cameras can bring to driving, including increased visibility and the use of intelligent hazard alerts.

Three cameras – two on the doors and a third on the rear window – work together to produce one image, which is displayed on a screen that replaces the rear-view mirror. BMW says this image provides the driver with a wider field of vision than conventional mirrors, enabling it to “eliminate dangerous blind spots”.

The use of intelligent technology also allows the Mirrorless system to predict imminent hazards, such as fast-approaching cars and unsafe lane changes. The driver is then shown warning symbols on the screen so they can react appropriately. Parking is also catered for, with superimposed trajectory lines to help drivers direct the i8 into parking spaces.

Another key advantage the system brings is lower air resistance. Because the door cameras can be significantly smaller than mirrors, their contribution to drag is greatly reduced, bringing benefits to both the car’s performance and overall efficiency. This slimming down of parts also has obvious benefits for design.

BMW says its cameras are not only more advanced than mirrors but they’re also easier to use, because unlike conventional mirrors they don’t need to be adjusted to cater for different drivers. And because of the placement of the display screen, passengers have a full view of what’s happening behind.

The i8 Mirrorless concept was revealed at the CES in Las Vegas alongside the i8-based i Vision Future Interaction and a concept version of the i3, called the i3 Extended Rearview Mirror that also utilises cameras to improve vision.

Our Verdict

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6 January 2016

Blindspots are getting increasingly large because of styling, aerodynamic and body strength reasons. Electrically controlled and heated wing mirrors are vulnerable and expensive. Cameras are a win-win option, especially as they have advanced so much because of their use in smartphones.

6 January 2016

Think VW had that on their XL1 concept from 2009 no?


6 January 2016

.. is the fact that the car appears to have been parked in the outside lane of the Autobahn with no driver.

6 January 2016

When they come I expected cameras to be fully integrated within the bodywork rather than still stuck out on stalks. Maybe my ignorance on the physical science involved.

6 January 2016

This idea has been around for ages and seen at car shows to general approval. The problem is that the laws governing cars still dictate mirrors instead of cameras. BMW would do better by showing this car in Washington, Brussels and Beijing to get the government to support the necessary changes to make this happen. Autonomous cars are being developed faster than this idea which is well over 30-years old by now.

6 January 2016

And I'm disappointed in BMW for two reasons.
Like "Walking" I think having the cameras stuck out on arms is a shame. What a pedestrian hazard! If they can't be right up on the door, we may have to forgo this concept.
And why have what looks like a conventional mirror at the top of the screen? (I know, that's where drivers expect it) I eagerly scanned the pics to find it integrated into the headlining or dash. Disappointing.
How about a Head Up Display projected at the top of the driver's field of view, where the sky normally is?
You heard it here first....

Aussie Rob - a view from down under

6 January 2016

Thick A, B, C pillars, ridiculously wide blind spots, inability to see the four corners of the car, are probably the worst features of modern driving. Volvo - or was it Ford - previewed a transparent lattice structure for the A pillar. If made production, it would avoid the potential problem of camera failure.

6 January 2016

Now just need forward facing cameras so we can see around A pillars and the road directly in front of car.
We will then be back to where we were in 1980.

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