BMW unveiled its i8 mirrorless concept car at the ongoing CES 2016 in Las Vegas. The automobile giant has developed a functional prototype model that incorporates a unique camera system, which will completely replace rear- and side-view mirrors of the vehicle.
The German luxury automaker's concept car has an extended LCD display screen, which is mounted in the place of a traditional rear-view mirror. The screen is 11.8in by 3in in diameter and is considered larger than standard rear-view mirrors. It collects video feed from three different cameras and displays it in a panoramic view for drivers.
Although the i8 mirrorless car has no side view mirrors, it sports extensions on the driver and navigator side doors. These protrusions support cameras that are reportedly slimmer and more aerodynamic than traditional mirrors. The car boasts of two stereoscopic cameras placed at the rear. These cameras display the view from the car's rear and can be used as a backup camera while parking the vehicle.
The video displayed on the concept car screen is believed to be free of "blind spots" that one usually encounters when using traditional side- and rear-view mirrors. When operating on driving mode, the LCD screen displays fragmented imagery gathered from three separate cameras as a comprehensive video image, which seems like it is received from a single camera.
To protect the side mirrors from damage, BMW has encompassed them with gorilla glass. Weather fail-safe measures like a heating mechanism have also been incorporated in the new system, which will prevent snow and ice to accumulate on the cameras.
Commenting on the quality of the video feed, as well as the overall experience of driving the i8 mirrorless car, Cnet reported: "The imagery was bright and clear, much more informative than what I usually see in side and rear-view mirrors."
Meanwhile, Philipp Hoffman, project manager of BMW's Camera Monitor Systems, claimed that the company is currently negotiating with European and US governments to modify the current automobile related laws that call for traditional side- and rear-view mirrors. The concept car is slated to be tested on European roads later this year and should receive the all clearances for US testing in 2017.