Sensor and camera tech has evolved a lot in cars in the past 10-15 years, we’ve been spoiled with a generous amount of great and helpful features, from PDC, and gesture controls, to automatic parking and even semi-autonomous cars. All these features (and many more) are based on the vehicle’s ability to read its environment and movement. This is also the base principal of the SideCam concept.
Some days ago, I was thinking about all these innovations that had made their way into our cars, and I suddenly remembered how I a few months ago drove a 2014 Mercedes Sprinter, and how cool it was to see the camera feed from the rear being displayed on the rear view mirror as I was backing up. – I loved it. And now a few months later, a thought popped up in my head;
What about the side view mirrors? Sure, they look better and better, and they’ve become foldable and so on – but why haven’t we taken it to the next step? Why do we still use mirrors?
I sat down, and I started thinking, the only logical things to replace mirrors are cameras and sensors, this surely has to be the next step. I did some sketches and I later translated these into already existing car images (Volvo). Basically, my idea involves replacing the tradition side view mirrors with a camera and a sensor (or several sensors) on each side of the car. The cameras are filming backwards as well as towards the side of the car/environment, and the sensors are tracking movement of other vehicles on the road that may be behind you or on your side.
Today’s sophisticated optics and sensors don’t have to be big in size to deliver high quality film, just take a look at your cell phones for instance! Theoretically, the camera/sensor housing would be much smaller in size compared to a regular side view mirror, giving your more clearance to the side, as well as improving the aerodynamics of the car itself. By using different optics and smart software, we could 100% eliminate the so called “blind spot”, as well as deliver high resolution imagery even during nighttime, bad weather, and other situations where the human eye might have reduced vision.
What does the camera do with its filmed material?
The camera feed is relayed in real-time, and is projected as a component of a HUD (Heads up display) straight onto the driver’s windshield, with a certain amount of opacity that is automatically adjusted after current lighting conditions and so on. The feed from the sidecams are represented by two small rectangular screens (see illustration), the left screen shows the left side of the car, and the right screen of course shows the right side of the car. This way, you’ll always have a view of the sides, without ever having to take your eyes off the road as you actually do have to do today when checking your side view mirrors, even if it’s just for a second or two. It’s important to note that the feed screens on the windshield will be placed and designed in a manner so that they never obstruct your normal view out of the windshield when driving your car. One option might be to make them almost fully transparent, and to only make them appear when they register your eye movement towards the area, or something similar – The opportunities are pretty much endless.
As I’ve understood, one of the big reasons why we haven’t seen this being implemented yet (apart from some concept cars and third part units), are basically outdated automotive regulations that don’t take tech like this into considerations, but as everything else, this is bound to change, and a good guess is that stuff like this will soon become standard in our vehicles.
What do you guys think?