Elon Musk talks about the end of classic rearview mirrors, a surprising assertion given that Tesla has not yet adopted this innovation, unlike brands such as Audi, Hyundai or Lexus.
One of the hottest debates in the automobile concerns rear-view mirrors, those faithful aids to peripheral vision. With the advent of cameras, their usefulness has come into question.
A few years ago, in 2019 to be precise, Elon Musk had mentioned the possibility that his Cybertruck would be deprived of physical mirrors in favor of electronic versions. Elon Musk has always had a futuristic outlook, and according to him, “ side and central mirrors will no longer exist in the future “. However, this vision has not entirely come to fruition. While the Cybertruck prototype presented in 2019 was without mirrors, the reality took a different turn: the production models have them. The same goes for the restyled Tesla Model 3.
Tesla is far from being ahead in the field. Models such as the Volkswagen XL1, the Audi Q8 e-Tron, the Lexus ES or even the Hyundai Ioniq 6, as well as the Ioniq 5, all incorporated electronic mirrors, often as an option. Basically, this choice is motivated by the search for better aerodynamics… and therefore better efficiency. Indeed, without these appendages, the wind resistance of the vehicle decreases, thus increasing its efficiency and, consequently, its autonomy, a major advantage especially at high speeds.
The integration of cameras all around cars, for autonomous driving, certainly makes traditional mirrors less and less necessary. At Tesla, Hyundai and Kia, activating a turn signal instantly triggers the side camera, eliminating blind spots. However, this technology has drawbacks, especially at night when the brightness of the flashing light can interfere with the quality of the camera image.
Lots of promises
Although the idea is appealing, the complete switch to electronic mirrors still requires many improvements, especially in terms of the quality of the cameras and screens. Tesla still has work to do.
Finally, even though Elon Musk is known for his grand declarations, it is important to remember that the vast majority of his promises do not materialize. The total removal of mirrors is certainly underway, but the technology, while promising, still needs time to mature and become mainstream. In the automotive industry, as elsewhere, caution is required when faced with bold promises.
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