JAPAN IS LEADING THE WAY, INTRODUCING SAFER, MORE FUEL-EFFICIENT MONITORING SYSTEMS, WRITES JAMES WONG
Japan has become one of the first markets in the world to allow carmakers to ditch the conventional glass wing mirror in favour of camera monitor systems,says an industry report.
Using cameras as rear- or side-view mirrors is nothing new — numerous concept cars, including the Lamborghini Urus, have 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, says Automotive News, Japan has passed legislation that will allow vehicles to use video camera systems instead of mirrors.
The report says Japan’s Ichikoh Industries and Germany’s Robert Bosch have already moved to supply carmakers with the technology.
Japan isn’t alone in taking the steps to introduce the camera monitor systems. The European Union is expected to revise its regulations this year to allow for the new technology, the US is forecast to follow suit in 2018, and China intends to 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 invisible with conventional mirrors.
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”.
The report identifies the carmaker Ichikoh is supplying these units to a Japanese brand that plans to introduce the video monitor in a mid-range, low-volume model that will be available in Japan from next month.
Ichikoh predicts that by 2023, about 29 per cent, or about 2.3 million, – 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 of mirrors.