Technology

Don't look back: Lexus launching first digital side view mirrors

Don't look back: Lexus launching first digital side view mirrors

The Japanese government lead the way in 2016 when it adopted rules allowing automakers to use cameras instead of mirrors.

The technology will debut in the redesigned ES sedan that goes on sale in October.

Here in the US, the technology has yet to be made legal, though vehicles are already being sold with video screens that replace the center rearview mirror. In addition, the view of areas around the vehicle can be manually enhanced by the driver. From its namesake, it replaces the mirrors for small exterior cameras that will provide drivers a clearer view of the vehicle's surroundings. Lexus will start offering Digital Outer Mirrors, and the first auto to get it will be the new ES saloon.

The 2019 Lexus ES in Japan sees its side mirrors replaced with small, aerodynamic camera stalks. View areas around the auto can be enhanced manually to give the driver complete peripheral awareness. The side cameras are shaped in a way to prevent accumulation of rain and snow from blurring the view.

- The camera will display the images on a monitor inside the cabin placed at the bottom of the A-pillar.

There are various benefits to doing this, from better peripheral vision and better field of view, to reduced wind noise and better aerodynamics.

The system automatically enhances the corresponding area―left, right or behind―when the turn signals are activated, or when the transmission is put into reverse.


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