Mirror, Mirror on the Car, Who's the Most Reliable of Them All?

07 Feb, 2024

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Photo by Ryan Spencer on Unsplash

Photo by Ryan Spencer on Unsplash

At recent 2023 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Sony and Honda revealed their first electric vehicle prototype, which is equipped with 45 cameras and sensors, as well as Electric Rearview Mirrors.

At recent 2023 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Sony and Honda revealed their first electric vehicle prototype, which is equipped with 45 cameras and sensors, as well as Electric Rearview Mirrors. Electronic rearview mirrors have already made an appearance on roads in many countries. A question has been raised: will traditional rearview mirrors eventually become obsolete in smart cars? In this article, we will delve into this inquiry.

Transform from Light to Electronics

The rearview mirror was invented in 1911 by Elmer Berger, providing drivers with an easier way to view what was behind them while driving. Modifications have been made over the years, including the “day/night” switchable mirror and the “automatic dimming” mirror, making driving safer and more comfortable.

Electronic rearview mirrors have emerged in recent years in both commercial and passenger vehicles. However, it should be noted that they have not yet been widely adopted in automobile, let alone replacing traditional rearview mirrors.

No Wonder It’s Getting Popular

Electronic Rearview Mirror is a new type of “indirect vision device”, also known as the Camera-Monitor System (CMS).

The electronic rearview mirror consists of two parts: the “electronic internal rearview mirror” (also known as “streaming media rearview mirror”) is a display screen installed inside the car, and the “electronic external rearview mirror” corresponds to the traditional external rearview mirror on cars. Compared to traditional rearview mirrors, electronic rearview mirrors have three advantages.

1.      Smaller structure and lower air resistance

In August 2022, Elon Musk stated on social media that electronic side mirrors on electric cars can reduce energy consumption by about 5%. Since an electronic side mirror is just a camera, its size can be reduced to one-third of a traditional side mirror, or even smaller. From a professional aerodynamics perspective, a smaller structure means a smaller frontal area of the vehicle, which reduces air resistance, reduces wind noise, and to some extent, decreases fuel consumption for combustion engine vehicles and increases the driving range for electric vehicles.

2.      Less affected by natural factors

With advancements in camera display and artificial intelligence technology, the solution of “external camera + internal display” can significantly improve the adverse effects of natural conditions, such as rainwater covering side mirrors, fogging, insufficient night lighting, and other problems that plague drivers. In front of electronic side mirrors, these are “child’s play”.

3.      Smaller blind spot

This is the most intuitive advantage of electronic side mirrors. The curvature, shape, and size of traditional optical reflective mirrors are fixed, resulting in a limited field of view. Electronic side mirrors can use cameras at different angles, providing drivers with a wider field of view. Especially for large commercial vehicles, blind spots are often a fatal area.

Electronic rearview mirrors also provide assistance for promotion of car intelligence. Firstly, electronic side mirrors enrich the content of intelligent cockpits. Secondly, it serves as sensors for future autonomous driving systems.

Not Easy to Get On Board

Although electronic rearview mirrors have many advantages, they also have some limitations. The high cost is a significant drawback, and the stability requirement is high for driving safety. Furthermore, drivers may have difficulty adjusting to the new display screen after using traditional rearview mirrors for over 100 years.

But the industry is optimistic that with the decrease in cost and improvement in stability of electronic rearview mirrors, more car companies will embrace electronic rearview mirrors to enhance the differentiation of their models in the process of intelligentization. Though, consumers’ attitudes remain to be seen.

Order the Parts that Drive Smart Cars Go Faster

“Mirror, mirror on the car, who's the most reliable of them all - traditional or electronic rearview mirrors?” Although there is no definite answer to this question yet, the ongoing process of intelligentization traditional gas-powered vehicles and electric cars is transforming the automotive industry.

At RPWORLD, we provide manufacturing services that include CNC machining, injection molding, sheet metal fabrication, and finishing options to help you accelerate your smart drive, faster and more cost-effectively. We have extensive experience in manufacturing a wide range of auto parts for various automotive clients, including:

·    Exterior parts: head lamp, bumper, radiator, grilles

·    Interiors parts: EPB, door panels, instrument panels

·    Electronic parts: battery packs, charging stations, voltage motor


RPWORLD is a leading high-mix, low-volume manufacturing service providers for CNC Machining, Injection Molding, Urethane Casting, Free DFM analysis. Our digital approach to manufacturing enables accelerated time to market, reduces development and production costs, and minimizes risk throughout th...