New technology makes life easier, but can sometimes become an annoyance too. Take Apple’s Airpods and a wireless mouse for example. You now have to charge your earphones and mouse just to get them to work. Sometimes new technology can be a fad like the Segway, and worse, it can even be fraudulent like Theranos’s one-drop blood test.
In 2018, we heard the news of the Audi E-TRON and the Lexus ES replacing the standard side view mirrors with side-view cameras instead. Also making a debut in 2018 was the hybrid McLaren Speedtail which also came with side-view cameras. Although the ones on the McLaren are retractable.
Why replace a simple mirror with such a complicated camera? Well, the reason given for the replacement of mirrors with cameras are as such:
- Aeroacoustics improvement (sound when travelling at speed)
- Minimized blind spots
- Reduced drag
Aeroacoustics improvements is something you would care about more in a premium car. Minimized blind spots, on the other hand, is something we could all benefit from safety-wise. Side-view cameras can also be of great assistance for pre-collision warning systems in addition to existing front cameras.
Reduced drag, however, is more significant if a single side mirror was the size of a cricket bat – which is exactly what it is on your standard cargo truck. The new Mercedes Actros features tiny side view cameras that reduce fuel consumption by 1.5%.
Side-view cameras are also a stepping stone to even more refined autonomous driving. If you think about it, cruise-control, ADAS, electronic parking brake, and the engine push-start button are all paving the way for a fully autonomous future. Even door controls could be electronic like the Tesla Model X. It’s all coming together. And then John Connor will save us all.