Contributed by Bob Chabot
Lexus First to Replace Side Mirrors With Cameras The technology will debut on the 2019 ES model next month in Japan.
Lexus has announced the launch of its new digital side-view camera, which will replace the traditional side view mirrors on vehicles. The automaker says it will debut the new digital view technology on the 2019 ES model next month in Japan, where advanced technology of this type is already approved for use.
Lexus' new outer digital camera can adjust its field of focus depending on what the driver is doing. (Image — Lexus). (Image — Lexus)
The installation of the small exterior cameras on the front doors of Lexus vehicles will provide a clearer view of the vehicle's surrounding area. The new camera is designed to transmit images onto a 5-inch display monitor located on the front dashboard. One of the new camera’s primary advantages is it is shaped to resist the accumulation of raindrops and snowfall, driver distractions that obstruct viewing with conventional mirrors. In addition, the new cameras also automatically adjust the field of focus when a turn signal is activated or the transmission is put in reverse.
By replacing the vehicle's conventional side mirrors with small cameras, side mirrors no longer block the view outside the front windows, resulting in improved visibility, says the automaker. (Image — Lexus)
Lexus says the new system automatically enhances the corresponding area ― left, right or behind ― when the turn signals are activated, or when the transmission is put into reverse. The view of areas around the car can also be manually enhanced, allowing the driver better peripheral views around the vehicle. In addition, the compact size of the side cameras improves forward visibility from inside the cabin.
The automaker says that replacing the vehicle's conventional side mirrors with small cameras will result in improved visibility. The system automatically enhances areas that need special attention, such as the direction of a vehicle when turning, driving at night or in bad weather.
Not Coming to U.S., Yet
For years, camera-based sideview technology has been a favorite of automotive designers, typically showing up at auto shows worldwide. This technology is now going primetime by launching first in Japan, where the country’s regulations already allow higher technologies.
Shortly after the Lexus launch in Japan, the European market will see two similar advances — one in Audi’s E-Tron electric SUV and the other in Mercedes-Benz’ Actros semi-truck. In comparison, the United States is lagging in technological leadership. American regulations currently restrict vehicles to using the older side mirror technology.
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