Using cameras as rear- or side-view mirrors is nothing new - numerous concept cars such as the Lamborghini Urus have already previewed the technology, and some Honda models feature a wide-angle monitoring camera beneath the passenger-door mirror. However, legal restrictions have stopped the wing-mounted cameras from outright replacing the conventional mirror.
Now, according to industry journal Automotive News, Japan has passed legislation that will allow vehicles to use video camera systems instead of mirrors from June 17.
The report adds that Japan’s Ichikoh Industries and Germany’s Robert Bosch GmbH have already moved to supply auto makers with the technology.
Above: The Lamborghini Urus concept uses cameras instead of wing mirrors
Japan isn’t alone in taking the steps to introduce the camera monitor systems either; the European Union is expected to revise their regulations this year to allow for the new technology, while the US is forecast to follow suit in 2018, with China to also join the club soon after.
Cameras are believed to have several advantages over their old-school mirror counterparts; including being safer and helping to boost fuel efficiency.
Modern cameras are able to capture a wider viewing angle and can see blind spots that are usually hard to see or completely invisible with conventional mirrors.
Above: Honda has come a step closer to dropping mirrors by offering an occasional-use camera with some models
Camera systems can also help to improve visibility by digitally compensating for glare, darkness or bad weather.
And, no surprise, the claimed improvement in fuel economy comes from the lower weight of cameras compared to glass mirrors, along with the reduced drag.
Ichikoh’s first camera-based mirror product is a rear-view mirror that features a live video feed from the rear camera, called the ‘Smart Rear View Mirror’.
Above: Some reversing camera systems use similar monitors to Ichikoh's new product
According to the report, the car maker Ichikoh is supplying these units to was identified as a Japanese brand that plans to introduce the video monitor in a mid-range, low-volume model that will be available in Japan from August.
Ichikoh predicts that by 2023, around 29 per cent - or about 2.3 million vehicles - of Japanese vehicles will have video monitors as interior mirrors. In addition, the company believes that 12 per cent, or about 900,000 vehicles, will feature exterior side-view cameras instead in mirrors.