side view mirrors

Are Side View Mirrors Evolving?

For those of us who remember what it was like to get photographs developed at the drugstore or put a quarter into a payphone, today’s rate of innovation can be overwhelmingly impressive. And it’s only getting faster.

In Las Vegas earlier this year, BMW showcased its mirrorless technology on its i8 model. While side view mirrors are necessary for safer driving, they aren’t necessarily ideal. Most of us are familiar with their blind spots, after all, which can be frustrating and even dangerous. So automakers are looking to cameras to help change that. And let’s face it: digital cameras are inexpensive and ubiquitous (I upgraded my iPhone solely for the camera).

Vehicle cameras aren’t new: many of us have rearview cameras that we use when backing up. In fact, they’re now required thanks to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s mandate that requires cameras by 2018 in new vehicles weighing under 10,000 lbs. Several automakers have petitioned the NHTSA to allow side view cameras but so far the agency hasn’t issued any kind of requirement. Not only do they site the safety factor but they also point out the benefit to aerodynamics, which is important as automakers constantly strive for better fuel efficiency and stability at higher speeds.

What do you think about side view cameras? Cool? Bothersome?