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MIrrorless cars are coming

Japan has passed a law allowing the rear-view cameras to replace mirrors.

Mirrors may soon be going the way of the dodo. On June 17 Japan passed a new law approving the street-legality of mirrorless cars.

According to Automotive News, the new regulations "is sparking a rush of suppliers to the technology." Early players include Japan's Ichikoh Industries and Germany's Robert Bosch GmbH.

Ichikoh is already a major supplier of mirrors and lighting systems. The AN report says that their first product in this new field will be the Smart Rear View Monitor, a traditional interior rear-view mirror linked to a camera mounted on the rear of the vehicle. Inside the mirror is an integrated LCD monitor that can display the camera's rear view instead, via a switch controlled by the driver.

Ichikoh told AN that production has already begun and will show up in "a Japanese carmaker with plans to use the video monitor in a midrange, low-volume nameplate." Though they declined to say which car, it is likely the Nissan X-Trail (known as the Rogue in the US market).

The Japanese government moved to allow mirrorless cars in response to improved video technology. Additional benefits include improved mpg when heavier, drag-generating side mirrors are replaced, as well as safety, as video cameras are better able to compensate for glare or darkness and have no blind spots created by pillars. Designer see a boon too, as mirrorless cars are able to have smoother, flowing bodies.

AN reports that the US is likely to adopt similar rules in 2018, with China to follow soon after. Ichikoh predicts that by 2023, 29 percent of the Japanese market will have replaced their internal mirrors with video streams, while 12 percent of cars will have no side mirrors.

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