As early as 2018, manufacturers have started playing around with the idea of rear-facing cameras to replace side mirrors. It started with Lexus and Audi, and now it seems Honda will be following in their footsteps very soon. The Japanese automaker recently confirmed that the upcoming Honda e electric vehicle will have cameras instead of side mirrors. Interestingly, the feature will come as standard.
Officially called the “Side Camera Mirror System”, it is similar to how the virtual door mirrors work on that of the Audi E-Tron EV and the Lexus ES. Honda's system works by using two rear-facing cameras which sit in housings just below the window line. The cameras then feedback images to the two six-inch screens at each end of the dashboard, giving drivers a better view of the surrounding area.
In order to protect the cameras from dirt and debris, the housing is specially designed to prevent water from dropping on the lens. A water-repellent coating has also been applied to the lens to prevent residual water build up.
Honda claims that the side camera system helps the car “retain a modern, clean and simple design”. The company adds that the system complements the 'stepless' A-pillars as well as the 'pop-out' door handles, both of which will also be carried over into the production model as well. The lack of mirrors also helps the car be narrower as it doesn't protrude beyond the body, unlike conventional mirrors, making it easier to squeeze through tight areas.
Aside from improving visibility and making the car narrower, the cameras are also more aerodynamic than conventional mirrors. Honda claims that aerodynamic drag is reduced by 90%, which provides a 3.8% improvement for the entire vehicle. This also results in reduced wind noise when driving at speed.
The production model Honda e is expected to make its world premiere later this year and is expected to be on the roads by 2020.