Video: WTF is a digital side mirror, and what are the advantages?

Welcome to the first of a new ‘WTF’ video series we are trialling, where we go into the detail on some of the concerns and interesting elements we find in new vehicles. It is just a trial, so please feel free to leave any feedback or suggestions below. Would you like to see more of these types of videos? What topics would you like covered?

The first is ‘WTF is a digital side mirror, and what are the advantages?’ We’re using the Hyundai IONIQ 6 (review and 0-100 video test coming soon) as the foundation for this discussion. There are many other vehicles from other brands that are also introducing similar digital side mirror technologies.

Digital side mirrors promise a clearer view, including at night and in bad weather conditions. They also open up the possibility of displaying augmented information.

In the IONIQ 6’s case, the side view display is able to show line markings where the blind-spot begins, and where other vehicles need to be behind (an orange line) before it is safe to merge/change lanes. Hyundai said:

“The cameras and OLED displays integrated with the dashboard offer a clearer, wider view than conventional side mirrors – even at night and in bad weather conditions.”

However, one disadvantage we’ve discovered is the inability to lean forward to widened the angle of view. With a conventional side mirror, it’s easy to just lean forward a little bit to expose a greater view. But with these digital displays, the view is a constant. You can change the angle of the camera using a typical four-axis pad, but this is mainly set-and-forget.

Another potential disadvantage is the cost in service and repair. If the camera is damaged or torn off completely, you could be up for a costly bill to replace the camera and even the screen if it’s a decent hit.

These types mirrors, or this technology, is optional on a number of vehicles at the moment, including from Audi, Honda and Lexus.

What do you think, do you like this idea and would you tick the option box if it were offered on your next new car?

Brett Davis

Brett started out as a motor mechanic, but eventually became frustrated working on cars that weren't his. He then earned a degree in journalism and scored a job at Top Gear Australia back in 2008, and then worked at Zoom/Extreme Performance magazines, CarAdvice, and started PerformanceDrive/PDriveTV in 2011 with Josh Bennis, and ran it for 12 years. He's now the owner and managing editor here at Driving Enthusiast.
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