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Will Cameras Replace Sideview Mirrors On Cars In 2018?

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the forget-the-blind-spot dept.

Transportation 496

cartechboy (2660665) writes "Just the other day we read about how the Department of Transportation will require all manufacturers to include rearview cameras on all new cars produced after May 1, 2018. But there's something else auto manufacturers are pushing for, the ability to replace sideview mirrors with cameras in 2018. Tesla in particular is pushing for this to happen as traditional mirrors are bulky, and not very aerodynamic. That lump of plastic can cause surprising amounts of drag on an otherwise smooth car body. Camera units are much smaller and can be made streamlined, or even mounted nearly flush with the body, thus reducing aerodynamic drag. The idea has been around since the 1990s, and many concept cars have used cameras instead of sideview mirrors for years. But how will NHTSA respond? Is it finally time to ditch the sideview mirror?"

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nope! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46644989)

nope!

Re:nope! (1, Redundant)

sk999 (846068) | about 5 months ago | (#46645025)

Agreed. Sideview mirrors let you see places a rearview camera won't. Handy to have in traffic on the expressway (a.k.a freeway in Western US).

Re:nope! (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 months ago | (#46645081)

I'm assuming they'd have extra cameras to give you a good view out of either side of the car. Not sure how people would take it though ant it would have to mean more than just a screen in the center of the dash, if you wanted to provide the same area for viewing things behind the car.

I wouldn't want it mandated but I see nothing wrong with letting automakers do this if they want to.

Re:nope! (3, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about 5 months ago | (#46645243)

Meh, just get rid of mirrors altogether. Far too many drivers don't bother using them anyway.

Re:nope! (5, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 5 months ago | (#46645091)

Sideview mirrors let you see places a rearview camera won't.

That doesn't make sense at all.

You can point a camera anywhere you want, they'd be far more versatile than mirrors, and car makers will be certain to take advantage of that. You'll most likely get multiple cameras, stitched views, and more coverage, not less

I'd be happy just to get a good rearview camera on my motorbike. All I get to see in the mirrors are my elbows...

Re:nope! (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | about 5 months ago | (#46645337)

If I think there might be something just out of my field of view in a mirror, I can lean slightly to change the angle. That doesn't work with cameras. Not necessarily a problem, but the engineers will need to find a way to cover all of the necessary angles without taking up too much space on the dashboard. I absolutely do not want to hit any buttons to pan the camera while driving.

Re:nope! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645423)

You can have a wide-angle projection sort of like those convex mirrors on large truck mirrors, which only take a little experience to use properly. This would show all areas at a glance with no field of view limitation.

You could also imagine a virtual-reality approach which at the limit could provide a virtual mirror in the location you expect, reacting to the driver's head position to act like a mirror while actually being drawn by a heads-up-display projector and an external camera. I wonder if you could get the benefit of a huge truck mirror without the forward-looking blind-spot that it usually creates.

Fisheye cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645585)

Fisheye sees all!

Re:nope! (2, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#46645639)

If I think there might be something just out of my field of view in a mirror, I can lean slightly to change the angle

And with the cameras, you could move them, rather than moving your head.

I absolutely do not want to hit any buttons to pan the camera while driving.

But swinging your head wildly because your mirrors are poorly set is a good thing? They could make the camera screens mimic mirrors, but that would add complexity and cost for a few people who can't be bothered to adjust a camera if they want to see where it isn't pointed.

I think they should replace the rear-view mirror with a 180 degree "mirror" that's a real-time composite of around the car, like a convex rearview mirror, but without pillar reflections and such in the way. That's the closest to today's operation that makes sense to me. And with that, you'll *never* have something you need to move your head for.

Re:nope! (3, Interesting)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about 5 months ago | (#46645719)

I think they should replace the rear-view mirror with a 180 degree "mirror" that's a real-time composite of around the car, like a convex rearview mirror, but without pillar reflections and such in the way. That's the closest to today's operation that makes sense to me. And with that, you'll *never* have something you need to move your head for.

Ding ding ding! We have a winner. That's exactly what we should have. Also, a smart system could sense when any of those cameras stopped operating, and the others could fill in at least temporarily to cover the critical spots.

Re:nope! (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 months ago | (#46645641)

I absolutely do not want to hit any buttons to pan the camera while driving.

Let's make the steering wheel itself surround a giant screen showing everything behind you then, with an additional "pannable" view as a heads-up display projected on the windshield.

If you want to TURN you rotate the wheel.

If you want to pan the camera, you tilt one side of the steering wheel forward and the other side backward, vice-versa.

Re:nope! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645559)

cars are not made of glass or other transparent material. there
is no place on a car were all important blind spots can be avoided.
you will need three cameras at least to get par coverage to the
three mirrors we use today.

Judging Distance (5, Interesting)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 5 months ago | (#46645591)

I agree that field of vision is not an issue (or at least one that can be easily fixed). However depth of vision is a problem. Mirrors preserve depth perception 2D screens do not. Not being able to tell how close a car is in a wing mirror when overtaking is dangerous and will lead to accidents. You can't even judge from image size since camera's fields of view and screen sizes will vary between car models.

Re:Judging Distance (5, Insightful)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about 5 months ago | (#46645711)

And you also won't be able to judge depth for farther objects by subconsciously bobbing your head back and forth to increase stereo baseline, as you're apt to do without even realizing it when you have a mirror.

Re:nope! (1)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 5 months ago | (#46645635)

> You'll most likely get multiple cameras, stitched views, and more coverage, not less

Which is why things will inevitable drift towards the "beehive style mirror view". Although it is a bit confusing at first, you can bee seeing all angles at once.

And it bee far safer for everyone involved.

Re:nope! (5, Insightful)

grep -v '.*' * (780312) | about 5 months ago | (#46645699)

You can point a camera anywhere you want, they'd be far more versatile than mirrors, ... You'll most likely get multiple cameras, stitched views, and more coverage, not less

Really? I've had a stitched view [cartalk.com] for over a decade [orlandosentinel.com] now. (PDF [cartalk.com] ) It takes no power or extra equipment and I can see what's in the adjacent lanes behind me.

True, I have to glance at one non-adjacent sensor to another, but then again the road is still visible around me -- if something happens in front I already have a slight visual and can immediately lock and focus on it. (Then again, in high school driving class they taught us to continually scan our surrounding, check our mirrors, as well as maintain a "space cushion" around the car.)

Oh, and a spot of dirt or water (wherever might THAT come from?) will obscure that entire mirror as opposed to just being an inconvenience.

Ever had to scrape off a mirror from the accumulated snow / ice / fog? THAT'll be easy to do on the camera lens as well, I'm sure.

Then again there's be some idiot that will reconnect the camera inputs to watch TV, never mind being slightly night-blind from the always-on slight blue glow from the camera display. Or did you want to use B/W LCDs?

Mandate this in all new cars? Well if that's what you want. Personally I'll be out buying a glass cutting kit and a lot of superglue while re-positioning the camera to get an upskirt picture [dailypostal.com] of the car next to me.

Re:nope! (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#46645421)

The proposal is to have cameras in place of the side mirrors, not to use the rearview in place of side mirrors.

Re:nope! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645669)

Agreed. Sideview mirrors let you see places a rearview camera won't. Handy to have in traffic on the expressway (a.k.a freeway in Western US).

I'm guessing you had to look up the term expressway to obtain its freeway synonym because you in fact have never driven a car.

If you had, you would realize there is a huge fucking blind spot that has existed since the inception of mirrors in cars.

In fact, it is so fucking huge that they teach you all about it in drivers ed class, complete with diagrams.

Cameras can easily overcome this problem. I recommend you get out and visit a movie theater once too to understand what "wide angle" means.

Re:nope! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645027)

Agree ... do not want. One more thing to go wrong, and then you're looking at an expensive repair rather than something you could take care of yourself, just to keep the car legal. Plus people are used to looking over there to see what's behind them, it could cause all kinds of distraction trying to switch the dashboard TV set between navigation mode and rear view mode. Keep focused on getting the weight of the battery pack down instead.

Re:nope! (1)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 5 months ago | (#46645153)

This, except it would be nice to have the option to run only a camera system if one opted to ditch their traditional mirrors.

simplicity and reliability (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645177)

A car is a place I value simplicity and reliability over features. If a camera fails on the road, people can die.

Re:simplicity and reliability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645285)

Is your neck broken?

You must imagine you'd just say, 'oh well damn camera's broke better merge as fast as I possibly can without looking or signaling.'

Re:simplicity and reliability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645345)

Yes. I'm typing this with my tongue.

Re:simplicity and reliability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645415)

If you want to take liability for all the accidents that may occur for taking eyes off of the road ahead and on the side or back, then sure. Cameras for everyone.

Driving conditions change between regions. I know of at least three driving styles in Florida alone. There is the "normal" traffic with a few cars speeding and changing lanes fast in the south. In the west there are the tail gating counties where no one cares about space and drives into traffic aggressively. These are the worst for a possible mirror malfunction. There is the obvious heavy stop and go in the more compact areas such as Tampa or east side of West Palm Beach. These may not be unique to the state, but two of the situations would make turning your head more than needed very dangerous. Would get whiplash to turn your head fast enough.

Re:simplicity and reliability (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#46645643)

Yes. And I have had more than one car with a broken rear-view mirror. So "simplicity" isn't as simple as you imply.

Look over your shoulder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645023)

And under your arm and to the left and the right and not into a camera feed directly on your dash board...

Somewhat cheaper... (4, Interesting)

bob_super (3391281) | about 5 months ago | (#46645039)

When you see the cost of replacing a mirror, it'd be cheaper to have a camera and a 7" screen inside.
On the other hand, night vision would suffer from having a screen on.

And I know more than one person who has saved their cars' doors by having the mirror remind them how close they really were to that post...

Re:Somewhat cheaper... (1)

KioNeo (310821) | about 5 months ago | (#46645069)

When you see the cost of replacing a mirror, it'd be cheaper to have a camera and a 7" screen inside.
On the other hand, night vision would suffer from having a screen on.

Until that camera and/or screen needs replaced.

Re:Somewhat cheaper... (4, Informative)

bob_super (3391281) | about 5 months ago | (#46645133)

If you have a camera embedded inside a side panel and it needs to be replaced, the cost of the camera will often not be your biggest issue...

Re:Somewhat cheaper... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#46645649)

Replacing the screen in my car (for a rearview camera) is cheaper than replacing a side mirror.

Re:Somewhat cheaper... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645101)

It won't be cheaper because everyone will have their own vehicles-specific mounts, adapters and enclosures which they will sell at ridiculous rates like every other car part.

Re:Somewhat cheaper... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645105)

Monitors aren't a good replacement for mirrors, because where you place them is important.
but on a $100,000 car i doubt it's about cost reduction..

Re:Somewhat cheaper... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645173)

Right, because how you adjust your mirrors is not important at all

Re:Somewhat cheaper... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645339)

When you see the cost of replacing a mirror, it'd be cheaper to have a camera and a 7" screen inside.

What the fuck are you smoking?

Used mirrors are cheap, easy to replace, and generally last forever unless you hit something. How much do you think it's going to pay someone to figure out what the hell is wrong with it when the camera/screen/wiring suddenly stops working in ~10 years.

Re:Somewhat cheaper... (1)

AudioEfex (637163) | about 5 months ago | (#46645739)

I agree. Hell, you can just slap a stick-on mirror over a broken one, in a pinch. I was driving cross-country once and needed to do just that - it got me through that trip until I was able to replace it. If the camera/connector/cable/display goes wonky it would have been a much more time consuming, expensive, and bitchly process, even just to figure out what stopped working.

There is also something to be said about feeling disconnected - no pun intended - that you get in video but you don't get in mirrors. You are looking at a direct reflection of reality with your own eyes as opposed to a digital image - it may not be measurable in metrics but your eyes are still seeing the reflection (insert "objects are closer than they appear" message, LOL) versus a digital eye that you then interpret. I just think disconnecting ourselves further from what is outside of our cars is probably not the best idea.

All that said, unless I'm in bumper to bumper street traffic, I don't really use side mirrors much to begin with (yet by all accounts I think I am a pretty decent driver - I was in one accident when I was 16 (20 years ago) and I've driven well over 700K miles since then - I have no "points on my license" etc., and I'm usually complemented - I think it comes from the combo of my mom racing cars and my dad being a police officer, LOL). Some driving instructors will tell you to use the mirrors, but old school ones tell you to actually turn your head when you can (especially on the highway when nothing is straight in front of you). It's just a second (less time than if you futz with some control) and then you actually see with your own eyes. It may not work for everyone, but it's worked for me - and removing myself twice from that by not only not using the mirrors, but a video camera, just seems silly for me, at least.

Re:Somewhat cheaper... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 5 months ago | (#46645577)

Unless the cameras have night vision too... like some expensive cars already do. They have a front facing infrared camera and screen on the dashboard. It can pick out heat signatures behind objects like bushes, highlight human shared and temperature objects and calculate their speed and direction to warn you if they're going to cross your path.

Don't use it anyhow. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645057)

I usually only use and rear-view mirror to lookout for cops. If I'm reversing, I always throw my arm over the passenger headrest and twist around to see where I'm going. Cameras only help if a kid is playing possum behind your car; most kids are running around, so you need to have your full peripheral engaged. And I live in San Francisco, where more pedestrians have death wishes (like walking across a 4-lane high with your head down and your nose 1/2" from your iPhone screen), so you can't afford to pretend to be a fighter pilot--we're simply not trained to make use of a electronic display and maintain environmental awareness.

If I'm turning or merging lanes I always quickly turn my head, although I guess the side mirrors are good for preparing for a merge. Cameras would be kind useless unless the display is placed where I can see it--at least with only minor head movements--at the same time as I'm also looking with my own two eyeballs where I'm going.

Re:Don't use it anyhow. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645149)

You'd have to be a contortionist to check your blind spot, which is what your side-view mirror is meant to expose. You sir are a shitty driver.

Re:Don't use it anyhow. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645223)

"environmental awareness" -- law of unintended consequences suggest that this is exactly what we will lose when people no longer have to turn their head to look around and just passively check a screen. No matter how good the lens or the screen or the lighting, it's seldom as intuitive as a mirror. This detachment from intuition will lead to a detachment of the environment. It will be more like playing a video game than being immersed in reality.

Much more testing is needed to make sure humans are able to deal with video feedback as well as they deal with reflected reality. That cameras are a helpful addition on top of mirrors is probably undeniable (potential for distraction does exist however). But as full-blown replacements, that's definitely questionable.

Also:
short of cracking a mirror, there's no way it can go bad.
mirrors flip the view in an intuitive way so you feel which direction something is come from... will the camera also flip the image or present it "correctly"?

I modded you up, so posting AC to not undo mod.

Re:Don't use it anyhow. (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | about 5 months ago | (#46645355)

The all around system I saw, has a virtual sky eyeball of all the cameras with a car icon in the middle. So one look at the screen shows where every thing is around your car. The system I saw had proximity sensors as well, so while stopped, it would highlight in red any area where a object (person?) was detected. When in gear, it would highlight objects that could be a problem in your intended direction. while in motion it would just show the vehicles around you. Had a touch screnn you could touch any section and have that camera then take up the whole screen

So once you got used to the system, I am sure you could glance at the display and instantly recognize whats completely around you. Better than looking right and left. With a large panoramic review mirror I think you can mostly keep track of all the other vehicles without the camera display at night while moving. The backup camera and object sensor would more than make up for any detail lost in the distorted rear view mirror.

Re:Don't use it anyhow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645601)

I'd have to try it for myself... My knee-jerk instinct is that the additional information (and sensors especially, which can warn you when you're not paying attention) would be extremely helpful, but not as a replacement for true optics. Thought experiment: if you're looking in a mirror and see a shadow or something move, you'll immediately be aware of the "threat". But if you're looking at a tv screen and see something move, it may take longer to sink in, or you may even miss it. A mirror just seems like it's more actively engaging. I am willing to be proven wrong however. Like I said, I'd love to try out that system and see if it works as well or better.

One thing side view mirrors do very well though: when you look to the driver's side-view mirror, you are turning your head and gaze to your that side. This immediately engages your peripheral vision on that side of the car... it also prompts you to keep turning your head over your shoulder to look further. The same phenomenon happens to a lesser degree when looking to the passenger side-view mirror. Depending on the driver and the car, this may even eliminate the blind spot.

Rear view mirrors, similarly prompt you to move your chin up, and put it in position for turning to look over your shoulder behind you. Looking down at your dash does the opposite.

I believe there is nothing better as far as intuitive comprehension of your environment than to actually be looking in the direction where an object exists and to witness that object at true size, esp if it and you are both in motion against the backdrop of the environment. Mirrors do often distort depth and size as well, which has been shown to be problematic compared to mirrors that don't. Given there's no way to increase or change your view scope in a screen (other than to adjust the scale using some control), that distortion could be even worse than in a mirror, where you at least have the ability to change your scope by how far your head is from the mirror or at what angle.

Re:Don't use it anyhow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645705)

Having said all that, I believe the best system in the world would use augmented reality projected on your side windows and existing rear view mirror.

Look to the driver's side and see reality, plus, if sensors pick up anything along that side including off the rear corner (a car approaching in the lane next to you) then indicate the presence with a glowing bar along the rear edge of the driver's window, prompting you to look further over your shoulder.

If anything is sensed at the boundary or outside the visible range of the rear view mirror, also light up the corresponding edge of the rear view mirror. The driver would then either look backwards or down at a screen showing what's behind and to the rear sides of the car.

Looking out the rear window, if something is sensed below, above, or to the right or left of the window boundary, the corresponding edge of the window would light up, giving you the chance to stop and inspect the video screen in your dash. Alternatively, another video screen mounted within eyeshot of the rear window, would be very helpful.

The point with all of this is to keep the driver in the habit of looking in the proper directions, keeping direct visibility the primary aim, but simply providing more information than is normally accessible in a quick glance where you can't afford to crane your neck too far all the time.

The only time audible alerts would be triggered is if you are traveling in the direction of the sensed object... or if the sensed object is closing in on you at an alarming speed with impact predicted within 5 seconds.

Why stop there? (5, Funny)

Derling Whirvish (636322) | about 5 months ago | (#46645067)

What about ditching the windshield and replacing it with a 4k HD screen? Then you can embed the driver lower-down and deep inside a protective hardened shell. A no-glass car all around.

Re:Why stop there? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 5 months ago | (#46645097)

Plus augmented reality could let the car alert you to things you might not notice.

Re:Why stop there? (2)

bobthesungeek76036 (2697689) | about 5 months ago | (#46645145)

Like the car Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawk) drove in Daybreakers!

yeah this is dumb (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 5 months ago | (#46645187)

Is it finally time to ditch the sideview mirror?

I love the subtexts of this question...for the above sentence to make sense all three items below must be true:

> There is an open debate in car design/safety as to wether cameras would be better than mirrors

> There is an organized effort among many stakeholders that all agree cameras are better than mirrors

> They have been trying to ditch the sideview mirror for a long time..."finally"

Lastly...if cameras increase safety...why not have both????

Re:Why stop there? (2)

sarysa (1089739) | about 5 months ago | (#46645313)

If a window breaks, you can still see through it. If a monitor in your tank breaks?

I'm totally with Tesla that it should be a legal option, but it shouldn't be a requirement to go digital with side view. On one hand, you have the drag...on the other hand, the classic mirrors are less prone to ceasing to function effectively. (smudging/moisture/frost is also a concern, which often renders my rear camera useless -- easily fixed with classic mirrors, and driver's side can wiped off while driving)

Re:Why stop there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645325)

If your side-view screens fail, you have time to safely react to the problem by slowing down or pulling over. If your front windshield disappears, you're in a lot more immediate danger. Isn't that obvious?

Re:Why stop there? (1)

GumphMaster (772693) | about 5 months ago | (#46645411)

Excellent... then we could have more of this when parked: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com] (safe for work)

Re:Why stop there? (1)

rsborg (111459) | about 5 months ago | (#46645473)

What about ditching the windshield and replacing it with a 4k HD screen? Then you can embed the driver lower-down and deep inside a protective hardened shell. A no-glass car all around.

Might be interesting for fighter pilots. Hell, why stop there? Just make the entire fighter remotely controlled - all that would be left is a "droning" noise.

Re:Why stop there? (3, Funny)

period3 (94751) | about 5 months ago | (#46645673)

What about ditching the windshield and replacing it with a 4k HD screen? Then you can embed the driver lower-down and deep inside a protective hardened shell. A no-glass car all around.

Then how about ditching the wheels, and just simulate movement on the 4K screen. You could drive as fast you want in perfect safety.

Re:Why stop there? (2)

RJFerret (1279530) | about 5 months ago | (#46645701)

When the power drops, and I need to get across X lanes of traffic to the breakdown lane, I'll be glad to have a mirror.

A driver certainly would want to be encased inside a protective shell if the windshield were replaced with a monitor blocking the view and bringing a whole new meaning to BSOD.

Of course once self-driving cars hit the successive generations/versions, all bets are off.

CAFE requirements (2)

confused one (671304) | about 5 months ago | (#46645071)

It might happen, if they can implement it in a way the duplicates the functionality and ease of use of a mirror. The reason it might happen: reduction in drag to improve the manufacturer's chances of meeting the EPA Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements.

Not as good a field of view (4, Insightful)

tchuladdiass (174342) | about 5 months ago | (#46645073)

Even if you put the screen up by the window, with a mirror you can always move your head a bit to get a bit more visual context. With a camera and screen, that doesn't work. Unless they also put in head tracking, or use a 3d screen.

Re:Not as good a field of view (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645191)

If I move my head I would expect the image in the side view camera to also adjust without me physically changing the camera direction. But then again what about a mechanical back up? You can always have flip out side mirrors. Just like flip up headlights.

Re:Not as good a field of view (2)

radaos (540979) | about 5 months ago | (#46645229)

A camera based system would also lose the binocular cues of depth, unless it was 3D. I cetrainly don't want to wear stupid 3D glasses when driving, they're bad enough in the cinema.

Re:Not as good a field of view (3, Informative)

tokencode (1952944) | about 5 months ago | (#46645637)

This is exactly what I was thinking. A mirror provides both eyes with information, allowing you to gauge depth easily. Depth sensors etc could be used to provide some additional cues, but it is tough to be replace the usefulness of true binocular vision. While my backup camera is great, it definitely is not a replacement for my rearview mirror for this reason.

Re:Not as good a field of view (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 5 months ago | (#46645261)

Ever hear of this invention called a zoom lens? You'll be able to adjust you field of view....

Shazzam!

Re:Not as good a field of view (5, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#46645309)

Shazzam!

Is that what happens when you run into something while adjusting the zoom on your side camera?

It will have a better field of view (5, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | about 5 months ago | (#46645269)

The only reason you have to move your head around with a side mirror is because they are placed very close to where your peripheral vision ends. Consequently, if you're sitting facing forward, for a mirror to show the region between where the rearview mirror's view ends (almost straight back) to where your peripheral vision picks up (almost straight to the side), it has to have a very large field of view.

With a camera, you have the option of mounting it at the front corners of the car instead of by the driver, The display can still be by the driver, but the camera can be way in front. It can then show the same area using a much smaller field of view. The blind spot will still be there, but it'll be pushed out to 2-3 lanes away, making it irrelevant.

Re:It will have a better field of view (1)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#46645357)

The only reason you have to move your head around with a side mirror is because they are placed very close to where your peripheral vision ends.

I imagine he was speaking of being able to move your head a little more and check the blind spot on that side.

The blind spot will still be there, but it'll be pushed out to 2-3 lanes away, making it irrelevant.

Except when you're changing lanes. And we'll see if the blind spot is still there or not. A lot of cars taper in front, meaning there isn't a mount point for such a camera.

Re:It will have a better field of view (1)

mdielmann (514750) | about 5 months ago | (#46645497)

Put a camera where the sideview mirrors currently are. This gives you the field of view of the outside edge of the mirror, rather than mostly in the middle. Given the right alignment, it will see everything you can by moving your head around. Put two cameras there, and you can even put a "fish-eye mirror" view in part of the field of view, and have more perspective than you'd ever normally have.

Another option is to put the cameras on the roof, near where the windshield meets the roof. This could be done relatively discreetly, about like what the radio antennas look like now. With a design that incorporates the placement of cameras for this, you will likely have more field of view than you ever could do with mirrors, especially on the passenger side.

None of this negates any possible stereoscopic effect you would get from using mirrors rather than a camera.

Re:It will have a better field of view (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about 5 months ago | (#46645441)

It's been shown that curved side view mirrors can almost completely eliminate the blind spots [nytimes.com] , but the NHTSA dictates what size and shape your mirrors are.

Personally, I'd rather keep the side view mirrors and use the camera to eliminate the big rear view mirror placed right in the center of my windscreen. These are almost always placed for midgets, at my height it completely obstructs the right half of my field of view (If I pull up to a four way stop, any vehicle stopped at the sign to my right is completely obscured if it's smaller than a F150 or so) unless I drive hunched over or adjust it as far down as possible and look out over it.

Re:It will have a better field of view (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645627)

There really isn't a blind spot, it's just that most people stupidly set those mirrors to look behind them instead of to the side.

It's all fun and games... (1)

haggus71 (1051238) | about 5 months ago | (#46645085)

...until you get that electric short, and are blind in your side and/or rear view. It's called redundancy. You can't just have it all-electrical. Otherwise, you are asking for trouble.

Part of it is we think anything electronic will be better than having a human be required to...say...check their fucking mirrors? Or, in the case of the rear camera, make sure their brat isn't wandering around the vehicle before deciding to slam it in reverse(though, in that case, someone that dumb shouldn't be having offspring)? It's a combination of not setting boundaries to what you do in a 2-3 ton vehicle(smart phone, navigation system, entertainment system...eating!); and just getting lazy behind the wheel. Instead of creating the equivalent of the foam safety system in Demolition Man, how about we hold people to a higher driving standard?

It's not broken. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645087)

So why do I need a camera? This is a classic case of over-engineering a simple, solved problem. Rear and side view mirrors have an extremely low failure rate, and require no power.

Re:It's not broken. (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 5 months ago | (#46645299)

Rear view mirrors don't let you see the space obscured by the trunk, and side view mirrors cost $$$ due to aerodynamic drag.

I love the idea because I think I'll get a wider field of view and better nighttime rear vision.

Re:It's not broken. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645495)

Is there a study to compare the fuel savings from not having the side mirrors vs the cost of maintenance of defect products (break early / short / etc.) and natural dimming of screens causing a replacement?

I think in the long run they would be about the same, but with less labor cost on the side with a mirror.

I wouldn't mind cars with camera / screen replacements on the road iff they have a mirror backup. Some one above mentioned flip-out mirrors.

Re:It's not broken. (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 5 months ago | (#46645507)

Back when the aptera was a possibility, they removed the mirrors in favor of camera for the aerodynamic gains. (Aptera was a very aerodynamic car so the gains were real). Unfortunately, state laws didn't allow it everywhere, so they had to put them back on.

Also, mirrors aren't that simple. Even in many low end cars, they have electronics to move them around in the meantime for the driver and I'm it can break. Mirror themselves often are poorly made and lose their finish (see this on vans and the like).

So I think a nonmoveable camera might actually work better if it has a wide angle.

Right now, someone designed a mirror without blindspots that wouldn't cost much to implement, but current law doesn't allow for that either.

https://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/... [yahoo.com]

So I would be pleased if the law does change to allow both/more flexibility.

What about aircraft? (4, Interesting)

Derling Whirvish (636322) | about 5 months ago | (#46645103)

I always wondered why aircraft don't have embedded cameras all around. One to observe the landing gear, one pointed at the tail rudder, one for each engine, one for the ailerons/flaps etc. No more guessing what is going on based on instrumentation and sending a crewman to look out the window to see if he can spot the problem. Easier to detect icing, snow load on the wing while on the runway, etc.

Re:What about aircraft? (4, Informative)

Bobberly (1677220) | about 5 months ago | (#46645249)

Because no one wants to invest in the amount of research and testing required to get a part certified by the FAA. All it takes is one aircraft to crash because of "smoke in the cockpit" from one of these devices to end them. Technically, I could face penalties for unauthorized aircraft modifications for attaching my GoPro to the wing.

Re:What about aircraft? (1)

evilad (87480) | about 5 months ago | (#46645341)

By the time you certified your system of a $5 CCD and a $30 LCD for aviation use, you'd have to sell it for $15,000 to make a profit. You can't install ANY equipment on a certificated aircraft that isn't certified.

Re:What about aircraft? (4, Interesting)

Rich0 (548339) | about 5 months ago | (#46645493)

Airliners do have external cameras, mainly for taxiing (on some airliners the pilot is seated forward of the nose wheel and if you're in a tight spot it is very useful to actually be able to see under the plane and be able to just barely cut corners near the edges of the taxiways. Having cameras pointed at control surfaces isn't actually a bad idea, but they do have servos on them and their positions can be displayed in the cockpit.

The real deciding factor (1)

Artifakt (700173) | about 5 months ago | (#46645107)

In a tight economy, side cameras will only sell if they are a. manditory on all new models, or. b. not marked up at the same exorbitant rate as side mirrors. If the industry cintents itself with a replacement price that's not much more than for conventional mirrors, this could work, but what I expect is a scenario more like this.

1. Car companies decide that the lower profile possible means fewer side viewers will be hit in accidents, so they will see fewer replacements.
2. Since they won't see as much sales volume, the individual markup 'obviously needs' to be higher.
3. SUV makers, disappointed by low sales due to high gas costs, wiill lobby congress to except SUVs from the camera requirement (since they are sort of trucks - trucks need more mirrors and bigger ones, and you can't replace a bigger mirror with a little ole' camera, blah blah....).
4. The SUV exclusion will make initial purchase price look better to all those buyers who don't consider total cost of ownership.
5. Thus resulting in more fossil fuel consumption, AGW, and so on as America gets yet another reason not to adopt a superior technology.

Re:The real deciding factor (2)

Rich0 (548339) | about 5 months ago | (#46645521)

In a tight economy, side cameras will only sell if they are a. manditory on all new models, or. b. not marked up at the same exorbitant rate as side mirrors.

Actually, one of the reasons for having cameras is that they can boost fuel economy. With CAFE requirements that means that manufacturers can sell more SUVs and stay under the limits. So, there is plenty of incentive to put reasonably-priced cameras on cars, if not make them standard.

Submarines (0)

Derling Whirvish (636322) | about 5 months ago | (#46645139)

I assume submarines have replaced the captain looking thru the periscope with his eyes to a camera mounted there and a Star-Trek-style viewscreen viewable to everyone in the control room. If they haven't they should. You can add infrared sensors and stuff to the video. And no more red light so as to not damage the captain's night vision.

Re:Submarines (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 5 months ago | (#46645517)

I assume submarines have replaced the captain looking thru the periscope with his eyes to a camera mounted there and a Star-Trek-style viewscreen viewable to everyone in the control room. If they haven't they should. You can add infrared sensors and stuff to the video. And no more red light so as to not damage the captain's night vision.

Probably, But they haven't replaced the bullets a soldier uses with smart ordinance that can find it's target on its own.

Not because it technically isn't possible, rather because it isn't 100% reliable in a situation where less than 110% reliability can easily result in a fatality.

Re:Submarines (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645629)

And no more red light so as to not damage the captain's night vision.

Actually, red light is perfect as it is not nearly as harmful to night vision as hard white light.

Prediction (-1, Flamebait)

EzInKy (115248) | about 5 months ago | (#46645169)

I predict that Republicans will be in charge in 2018, so only the 1% will be able to buy a new car. For the other 99% this won't be an issue until 2025, if man is still alive and woman can survive.

Confusing. (0)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 5 months ago | (#46645319)

I was a bit confused by the summary. It starts by talking about the backup camera requirement and then talked about "the ability to replace sideview mirrors with cameras". It gave me the impression that the car makers want new cars to be required to have side view cameras instead of mirrors. This is not the case. Right now it is a requirement to have sideview mirrors on vehicles. Cameras do not fulfill that requirement. What manufactures want is the ability to substitute cameras for side view mirrors. It would not be a requirement. I think it is a good idea if cameras fulfill the safety requirement.

Di3k (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645329)

that they can hold Confirmed thaRt *BSD file was opened demise. You don't

I don't get the dichotomy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645359)

rear view shows what is behind. Side view show some of what is beside. Rear view can't show what is in my blind spot, well it can, but only the backside of what my side view can't yet see of the front. Sounds like they might make a great team. Why do away with the side view? Even the best wide angle rear view can not show what is behind it, but besides you.

Just sent the image to my phone (3, Funny)

Tex Bravado (91447) | about 5 months ago | (#46645373)

That's all I'm looking at, anyway.

Where will the image be? (3, Insightful)

swb (14022) | about 5 months ago | (#46645383)

The advantage of side view mirrors from a situational awareness perspective is that you can check the entire side of your car from front to back very quickly because the whole view is there. Blind spot indicators solve the problem of blind spots (mostly..). Side view mirrors may take away from aerodynamics but they're a very convenient place to look.

A camera image could be nice (night vision, variable view angle, etc), but it seems a downgrade from a safety perspective to use a center console display because it causes you to look away from the side of the car.

Maybe they'd mount mirror-size displays in the dash against the doors? Sounds kind of expensive for any usable resolution and brightness and maybe even distracting, especially at night. Perhaps the displays could have a secondary function or overlay (distance to largest and maybe bonus points for being hackable to display some other display.

Displaying a heads-up type display on the windshield? Some kind of perspective-corrected or floats-outside-the-car-like-a-real-mirror image on the side windows (useless if the windows are rolled down, though).

A rearview mirror option might not be a bad idea because it would then be a complete "behind you" image, but how big could it be without making the rearview mirror into a head-injury risk?

Feature request (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645397)

Can these side-view cameras be adjustable so I can see what that hot chick driving next to me is wearing?

Better Wind Profile - Something More To Fail (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 5 months ago | (#46645417)

Oh, my, two more things to fail at the most inopportune moments. So is this going to increase the cost of the cars too?

On the other hand, the benefit is a better wind profile so better gas mileage. Should that be kilometerage by now? *sign*

Soylent News Website Launches Tor Hidden Service (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645443)

Soylent News Website Launches Tor Hidden Service (.onion)

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Tor Hidden Service URL: http://7rmath4ro2of2a42.onion/ [7rmath4ro2of2a42.onion]

Now you can safely access Soylent News through a Tor Hidden Service! You must be using
Tor to access the .onion link.

Drool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645451)

Replace a $10 mirror with a $100 camera and monitor setup that we can charge $500-$1000 for!

Yes! Yes all over that!

  'its for safety! you cant hate that!'

oh goodie! (1)

p51d007 (656414) | about 5 months ago | (#46645461)

Car manufacturers are pushing this...hummmm....then it will be a requirement. Wanna bet they will again boost the price of an "econo-box" to 30,000 by that point? On a side note, driving today, I observed various people driving on the freeway. I'm come to the conclusion that WOMEN should be driving the NASCAR circuit. 1. They love to speed 2. They love to tailgate, which would help with drafting 3. No signals when they merge or change lanes, so they are good with that. 4. Can handle driving with one hand, since the other has a phone stuck to their ears

Can I Just Drive A Mirror? (1)

zenlessyank (748553) | about 5 months ago | (#46645503)

The narcissistic factor will make it a win-win!!!

$150 (1)

jgotts (2785) | about 5 months ago | (#46645533)

It will add $150 to the cost of the car, but when it fails the dealership will charge $500 for the same part plus labor to replace it.

Re:$150 (1)

confused one (671304) | about 5 months ago | (#46645709)

That's comparable to the dealer price (parts and labor) to replace a color matched side view mirror with remote.

Overcomplicated junk.. (0)

speedlaw (878924) | about 5 months ago | (#46645567)

I'm perturbed, as my Valentine One goes off all the time. Always a low level K band hit. Always near a Mercedes, Volvo, or sometimes new Caddy. It comes from a small radar transmitter, which if it senses a car in the blind spot, lights up a triangle in the mirror of the car to alert the driver as to a blind spot issue. A small tweak to the mirrors (see new Fords, or any euro mirrors) allows you to see blind spots with zero tech. These guys and the morons using laser cruise control, such as Volvo or infiniti, deserve cosmic abuse. I worry about folks who need a reminder they are too close to another car, or are swerving.

Re:Overcomplicated junk.. (1)

thatDBA (2626877) | about 5 months ago | (#46645657)

I think the safety of the drivers of those Volvos, Infiniti, Mercedes etc is bit more important than your want to avoid speeding tickets.

This would probably save on accidents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645571)

Lots of mirrors have blind spots. And even with well adjusted mirrors, you can get blind spots if you lend your car to someone. To have a fish eye view of all around your car might be pretty cool. (It'd go in your console where the speedometer is now, and move that somewhere like a dashboard display)

For mirrors and cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645573)

There are lots of reasons to keep conventional, or improved, mirrors.
1. Familiarity--people know how to use them. When they are properly adjusted to not show the sides of the car to the driver, they are effective at eliminating those blind spots.
2. Adjustability--see #1, plus in odd situations they can be re-positioned if needed. Movable cameras would be expensive.
3. Vision always trumps video--you can crane your neck to see extra stuff if need be with mirrors.
4. Glowing screens reduce night vision, properly positioned side mirrors do not. My old Audi had all red dash lights, best for night, still miss it. Now I have to turn off the navigation screen at night outside of urban areas.

I'm all for backup cameras, and maybe more proximity sensors with audio alarms, etc. None of that replaces the versatility of actual mirrors.

A novel idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46645579)

Instead of typing whatever idea pops into my head in 5 minutes, I have a novel idea. Why don't we do some testing and experimentation withf different configurations of cameras and screens in various driving and weather conditions?

Yes (2)

Trogre (513942) | about 5 months ago | (#46645593)

Just as soon as camera/screen pairs have the parallax of a mirror and the dynamic range approaching anywhere near reality.

In other words, not for a long time.

Do Both! (1)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 5 months ago | (#46645625)

I think they should do both and get the best of both worlds.

Fresnel lens (1, Interesting)

Trogre (513942) | about 5 months ago | (#46645645)

Not that it's necessarily the best for every single application, but I find a 15cm square fresnel lens stuck to my rear windscreen gives a much better picture than any camera system I have ever used:

The dynamic range is practically the same as through the glass, so no squinting at nearly-black screens in summer time or having eyes burned out at night.
The picture is on the actual windscreen, so I don't need to take my eyes off the "road" when reversing, or the rearview mirror to see what's behind me.
The focus is significantly far that I don't have to wait a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to a dashboard-mounted screen. Not a problem for me yet, but human lenses do harden with age.

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