Before side mirrors, cars had fender mirrors placed on both sides of a bonnet to see the coming traffic. Being at distance, a driver was unable to see the vehicles approaching from behind clearly. Then after some times, automotive industry introduced the side mirrors to solve that problem.
The side mirrors were a successor of fender mirror as now the driver could comfortably see the coming vehicles. Since then, side mirrors haven’t changed a lot, they work in the same way like they used to work 10 or 20 years ago. But now, it seems that automotive industry wants to abandon these mirrors too.
Car manufacturers are planning to replace these mirrors by digital cameras. Continental already demonstrated how these cameras will work. They fixed digital cameras in Mercedes-Benz CLS replacing side mirrors and used special interior displays on both sides of dashboard to give rare view.
Removing side mirror in traditional cars may not make much difference but it will surely do something in driverless cars. And that’s why Google is onto it.
Recently, we found a patent application of Google which discloses removable side mirrors. Google patent makes sense because in driverless cars side mirrors aren’t truly necessary. They aren’t going to completely remove these mirrors as traffic laws don’t allow that. The mirrors can be put back when car is not in driverless mode.
Not just Google, other automotive companies are also working on manufacturing their own driverless cars like Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, etc.
Seems like Toyota understand the unnecessariness of side mirrors in driverless cars too, well, their recent patent surely mentions it. Toyota is also abandoning side mirrors in their autonomous cars. A recent patent application of Toyota reveals its objective to substitute side mirrors by digital cameras. The view of these cameras can be seen from heads-up display.
We are living in future and Heads-up display (HUD), which we used to see in movies, has now become a reality. It’s not too common but there are some gadgets that can make your car’s windshield a smartphone’s screen.
Coming back to the patents, the replaced side mirrors will help in improving aerodynamics and increase fuel efficiency too, tells patent application. The two heads-up displays mounted on both side of dashboard will individually display views from both of the side cameras. One HUD will be placed on driver side and another on passenger side.
Rest of the things are pretty much same, side cameras will be operable meaning you can change the viewing angles to your will. One benefit worth noting is, as your side mirror is replaced by a camera, you’ll be able to record your journeys and any mishappening too.