BMW to clip wing mirrors
Wing mirrors could soon be flying off to pastures new, if BMW’s new plans work out.
The concept, unveiled at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, is called the Mirrorless i8 and the idea is to replace the rear and side wing mirrors with a set of cameras that will project a fully realised image onto the driver’s dashboard screen. The thinking behind the idea is that the driver will be given more than 180 degree rear visibility without ever having to look up from the road ahead, and the combination of having all mirrors replaced with cameras allows drivers to know what’s around and behind them at all times.
Speaking about the i8 technology, a BMW spokesman said that “The image of the traffic behind the car covers a greater viewing angle than could be observed using the interior and exterior mirrors. No adjustment of the cameras is necessary.” Advantages of the technology will include smarter, more accurate lane departure warnings with the camera being able to easily identify, and alert the driver to, cars approaching from further away. In removing wing mirrors and replacing them with the combination of 8 cameras, BMW are effectively removing blind spots and most of the risks posed to drivers as a result.
Though technically still illegal to drive, with a rear-view mirror being a legal requirement currently, BMW’s i8 mirrorless plans for the future of their cars reflect the automobile industries determination to innovate vehicle use and create a safer, and more technologically advanced driving experience. In addition to the safety benefits predicted, the removal of wing mirrors is expected to reduce wind noise and make the cars more streamlined, increasing petrol mileage of a car without the drag of bulky side mirrors. Less pull on the car, less pull on a driver’s purse strings. In their press kit handed out at the annual CES, BMW claim that the i8 will optimize cars “aerodynamically and aeroacoustically” so essentially you can look forward to having your window down and still being able to hear Taylor Swift on the radio. True pioneering.
The i8 model is the next step for BMW, who currently have technology that acts in a similar way presenting the driver with a bird’s eye view when parking. If successful in implementing the new designs, and eventually down the line proving that the law is safe to be changed, BMW’s i8 design could innovate a new era of car safety and driving experience, and in the process become a company that truly finds itself flying. Flying without wing… mirrors.