The Redesigned 2019 Lexus ES Will Have Digital Cameras Instead of Side View Mirrors

The Redesigned 2019 Lexus ES Will Have Digital Cameras Instead of Side View Mirrors

Author: Manish Kharinta   

Lexus has confirmed that it is making an industry-first move of replacing conventional side mirrors with digital cameras. We have previously seen this feature in the Mercedes-Benz EQ concept and the e-Tron from the fellow German automaker, Audi. 

Recently, pictures of the production-spec version of both German electric SUVs were released and it seems like the companies have decided to replace the digital cameras with conventional side view mirrors. 

It remains unclear if this feature will be offered on on other Lexus models.

Lexus claims that digital cameras enhance driver's visibility and therefore overall safety. The incorporation of digital cameras will also be used to improve the cabin silhouette. The new mirrors will debut in the redesigned Lexus ES sedan, which goes on sale next month. The mirrors are a trial run to evaluate the response from the market, which will help the company decide if it wants to offer this technology in other models.

In addition to improving safety, engineers and designers have reasoned that the sleek design of side view digital cameras will enhance the sedans aerodynamics and therefore improve fuel economy. 

In the redesigned Lexus ES, slim winglets will house digital cameras instead of the traditional reflective mirror pods. The cameras will relay live video to a pair of 5-inch screens integrated into the car's A-pillars. In Japan, these digital cameras will be offered as an optional extra on the new ES 300h version L.

In an official statement, Toyota Motor Corp announced the Lexus will have world's first application of digital outer mirrors. The statement detailed the benefits of using digital cameras over the conventional side view mirrors. 

The company reasons that these cameras will be able to capture a substantially clearer image, even in bad weather conditions. The technology will also be able to enhance areas that require special attention automatically. In addition, the driver can manually adjust the camera's view to get enhanced detail as needed.

The compact dimensions of the digital mirrors also reduce the wind noise substantially, leading to a quieter cabin experience for passengers. The camera housings have been designed in a way to make them resistant to accumulation of snow and rain droplets which will give the driver an unobstructed view.

For now, these digital mirrors will only be offered in Japan and not in the U.S., as the Japanese government has passed regulations governing the adoption of cameras in lieu of traditional rear-view mirrors. In the U.S. the digital mirrors are not permitted yet. 

Toyota said it would be interested in offering this feature in other markets, if government regulators allow cameras to replace reflective glass mirrors on motor vehicles.

Manish Kharinta
Manish Kharinta
Manish Kharinta is a automotive writer based in the Los Angeles area. He has worked for automotive industry websites, and His experience ranges from covering auto shows, to car reviews and breaking automotive news. Manish aims to bring forth his unique perspective on automotive design and technological innovations in the automotive industry.
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