Mirrorless cars

You guys should check out the blog on the cartalk website, please

Jim Motavalli is ecstatic that NHTSA will require backup cameras in a few years

But this guy is so “progressive” . . . he also thinks car manufacturers should actually eliminate the physical external rear view mirrors

Personally, I think backup cameras are a good thing. Better to have them, versus not having them

But I think eliminating the physical mirrors leaves a lot of room for potential trouble.

Yeah, I think backup cameras are great . . . IN ADDITION to the “old fashioned” external rear view mirrors

What if the camera’s not “adjusted” correctly?

What if the camera fails to send the image to the screen?

Snow, ice on the lens, etc.

The reason I’m posting this as a new discussion is that the blog will very likely be replaced with a new one soon, and I’d like to get the opinion of the “regulars” . . . as well as anybody else who cares to respond

I don’t much care for the requirement of backup cameras because I think those that need them most will not use them, or think them a substitute for mirrors or for actually looking to see what’s behind them.

I also think it’s odd that they will not be required on vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 lbs. Who needs a backup camera more? A guy driving a Subaru or a guy backing a 30 foot RV?

I don’t want to sound unsympathetic to those who have lost a loved one to being backed over, but when it comes down to it the sole responsibility lies with the driver.

Light reflection is pretty fool proof and dependable. The only ones I can think of who would eliminate mirrors are those who would like more complicated things to repair in a car and people who don’t use make up. :wink: I am all for adding stuff to make backing up easier but lets not eliminate anything that doesn’t require electricity. Back up camers just add to your visual field. That’s OK. The only other electronic aid i want want is a rodent neutralizer installed. Some thing like a star trek phaser would be fine.

But they aren’t mandating anything, in this case. They are actually expanding mfrs freedom to use “equivalent” measures to substitute. Nothing preventing you from bolting on a pair of aftermarket trailer mirrors if you like–it’s an “either/or” deal.////(Actually, now that throttle- and steer-by-wire are in use, this seems a case of “swallow the camel, choke on the fly”)////But yeah, generally he takes a “sanitized for your protection” approach to motoring.

Cameras and displays get better all the time. Stitching togethether multiple images intelligently van eliminate blind spots, give a reasonable 3d effect and

Got cut off and wouldn’t let me edit. All I was going to say is that the cameras and displays are improving all the time
Merge IR images? Sure. Improve contrast and lighten images at night? Of course. Eliminate dazzle from the sun and headlights in mirrors? Simple. And so much more, not the least being much improved aerodynamics. This is a technology waiting for the right time.

I don’t expect rear view mirrors to be eliminated in one pass. But I do expect them to get more aerodynamic and eventually be totally replaced by electronics. The idea that “anyone” can just slap another mirror on a car, kind of makes buying a new car become buying a new truck… Most drivers wouldn’t do that and ruining the trade in value is not a plan. Cars are becoming notorious in their poor outward visibility with safety, fuel mileage and styling concerns over riding everything.

I just saw a minor collision last week in the parking lot of Bob Evan’s. This is not normally something to even mention but the driver at fault was driving a new 2014 Ford 4-door XLT pickup with a back-up camera mounted inside a huge rear view mirror. He was concentrating so hard on the camera screen that he ran right into a split rail fence and knocked it over. I just have a feeling that this is going to happen a lot when cameras take the place of mirrors.

Isn’t it amazing what people will do to avoid turning their head and looking where they are going? I’m sure we could all tell stories about watching someone back into something or struggle into a parallel parking space, when all they had to do was turn their head and look. Now we are going to have voice activated automatic transmission gear selection, so no one should ever over-exert themselves reaching for a lever or button, or even learn to read the alphabet.

When will we have the first robotic arm to feed the driver coffee and doughnuts?

Gee whiz, I’m starting to feel like an old geezer.

I like the idea of backup cameras, but I agree that mirrors should remain a requirement as a “redundant system” for safety. It’s impossible to see too much, only to see too little.

Wentwest, it’s impossible to screw my head around to see out my rear window, partly because of vehicle design and partly because of my body’s design. I suspect that with modern cars’ styling, and with aging of the population, this is more than common today. In my '64 Fairlane I might agree with laziness, but not in today’s cars. For the record, I deal with the problem by always backing onto parking spaces (or doing a “drive-through”), including my garage. I feel that it’s safer.

You’d be surprised how much those exterior mirrors cost you in lost fuel economy. If cameras can let me see more and save money on fuel, they are the logical choice.

@TSMB: When I think about “redundant systems engineering,” I think about things that have to operate to keep going, like brakes, or flight controls/multiple engines. ////In a sense, a mirror has redundancy–the other two mirrors and the rearward view through glazing.////In actual practice, nobody ends a trip and calls for a wrecker due to a broken mirror. (When a listing mailbox protruded over the roadway and took out my side mirror, I simply drove, carfeully, to the nearest pull-off, duct-taped the shards of glass together, and replaced the mirror from the u-pull-it at my earliest convenience–meanwhile exercising due diligence and avoiding passing maneuvers wherever possible.)

Unless you’re replacing the side mirrors with cameras, eliminating them and only relying on the backup camera would be stupid.

Youall know what the next…illogical …laziness step is don’t you ?
Some stupid head set with all displays at direct eye level !
Or a heads-up display on the windshield.

This wouldn’t be eliminating redundancy…this would be three cameras in place of three mirrors (two sides and rear). So long as they all display seperately, I don’t know that the MTBF would be much different than with glass that can shatter, with glue that can fail holding the rearview on. (It would be more expensive when it does fail, though.)

I personally think it’s all too high-tech and expensive for my blood, but as long as you’re forced by law to use a camera for the rear-view, may as well use cameras for the sides, too, right?

Again, much more important systems like throttle and steering are already in use as fully electronic, so I think y’all are swallowing the camel whole, and choking on the fly…

Cameras actually have an advantage. When it’s dark and raining, when you look at your mirror you’re looking through a wet sheet of glass onto a reflection in a wet and typically dirty mirror. A camera and screen system if properly designed can present a much clearer and wider view image. It could also be designed to employ infrared technology for clear night time images. Three properly designed lenses can also provide a totally unimpeded panoramic view, which mirrors cannot do. And the images could be displayed on the dash right below the key gages, making it much easier (than mirrors) to see the images.

I’m in favor of cameras for more than just backing up. I think the technology has to potential to save lives.

That is a great advantage, @Mountainbike. Much like car manufacturers put the radio controls higher on the dash so you can keep your eyes on the road a higher percentage of the time, they can do the same with camera monitors, placing them in strategic locations that allow you to look at them quickly without taking your eyes off the road as long as you do when you turn your head all the way to the side to look at side view mirrors.

That argument sure beats the heck out of “grumble, grumble, I don’t like change, grumble, I’m a luddite, grumble, damn kids have no respect, grumble. It’s a slippery slope! Now get off my lawn!”

Something weird is going on here. I just typed my latest post in response to Mountainbike’s post, but his appears below mine. What’s up with that?

"It’s impossible to see too much, only too little."
I agree…but only if you’re talking about cars and but disagree when my daughter was living at home as a teen and trying out clothes while getting ready for a date.

I like the side cameras too but they’ll have to pry my mirrors from my cold dead hands. Turning your head now to see whats around you isn’t as easy as it used to be. For one thing, general visability is really limited in the new car designs. Also seat belts keep you plastered in your seat with little means for movement, plus those front and back head rests can really get in your way. As we age a little too, you don’t have as much flexibilty in your neck like you used to have. So bring the cameras on, but leave the mirrors alone. I don’t care about the cost or the fuel economy.

If Tesla though wants to sell more cars, they’ll have to do something about that silly fish like front grill. Also while some people resist all change, most people resist bad change not good change. But I draw the line on people driving their motorcycles on my grass. I didn’t say anything though and didn’t mind the snowmobiles at all.