BMW unveils a new version of its plug-in hybrid i8 with cameras instead of mirrors at CES in Las Vegas today. Back in 2012, Tesla unveiled an alpha prototype of the Model X without any side mirrors and announced that it will try to change regulation in order to make the technology legal.

The company failed to make regulators change the rule and the Model X was finally released with side rear-view mirrors.

Groups behind the effort to change the regulation say that side-view mirrors increase aerodynamic drag by 2 to 7% depending on the model. Replacing the mirrors with cameras reduces drag and could result to a 3% improvement in energy consumption.

BMW doesn’t specifically address aerodynamic performance with its system, but instead highlights the potential increased security. BMW i8’s mirrorless system uses three cameras, which can “cover larger viewing angles and eliminates dangerous blind spots”.

The German automaker explains the system:

  • Images from the cameras are united on a display which replaces the interior mirror. Presets for the camera or display are not necessary.
  • System evaluates camera images and provides a situative response to imminent hazards, for example with yellow warning icons.
  • Superimposed trajectory lines provide support during parking, and the passenger can also observe the traffic behind the vehicle.

Gallery of the new BMW i8:

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