BMW i8 Mirrorless Camera CES-01

At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, BMW is showcasing a unique piece of innovation in the form of Mirrorless Camera tech for the BMW i8. Said technology is employed to replace age-old exterior and rear view mirrors via the use of three cameras, that can cover large viewing angles and dangerous blind spots as well.

Outside, two cameras are housed in aerodynamically-optimised encasings – these replace the exterior side mirrors. In addition to that, a third camera fixed to the upper edge of the rear windscreen further supplements both. When active, images from all three are combined and displayed as a single image on a high-res display in the rearview mirror (or display).

The images, when combined, are sent to a display (where the rear view mirror is located) that measures 300 mm wide and 75 mm tall. The display is rounded at the side to give off a natural panoramic perception of traffic in the rear. It doesn’t just display images from the camera by the way – the display system can also evaluate camera images and respond quickly to impending hazards.

If a driver signals to indicate they are about to overtake, but an oncoming car is travelling much faster, a striking yellow warning icon flashes on the display. It increases in size as the hazard approaches. Another feature, is when a driver is about to turn right at a traffic light. The system recognises this through the indicators or a sharp turn – the image swivels to the right and is expanded to give a better view of the rear.

According to BMW, the image of the traffic behind the vehicle via said cameras has a wider viewing angle than that of conventional interior and exterior mirrors. To add to that, no adjustment of the cameras are needed (it’s also free from servicing for that matter). Aside from blind spots, motorcyclists can be captured by the camera or directly in vision from the side window.

In addition to that, the display prevents direct glare, while the contrast can be adjusted according to lighting conditions. As for parking, trajectory lines are provided as well. Furthermore, passengers can use the display to check whether there is oncoming traffic, pedestrians or cyclists before they open the door.

Design of the exterior mirrors are also taken into consideration. BMW says that the “wing-like” holders are optimised aerodynamically and “aeroacoustically,” with positive effects on consumption and low wind noise. It can channel rainwater round the side windows, while the camera lenses are made of Gorilla Glass Type 2. It’s heatable and sealed with a dirt-repellant coating and spray water can be conducted around the lens.

The BMW i3 Extended Rearview Mirror is also featured. Working in tandem with conventional exterior mirrors, it improves the view behind the car, BMW says. With a camera located in the antenna foot on the roof of the vehicle, the combination significantly extends the drivers field of vision in the rear. It also allows for easier assessment of how far away or how quickly vehicles are approaching from behind.