Since its introduction in 1978, UK law has stated that any cars on the country’s roads must have at least two mirrors: one internal, and one external. However, over in Japan, an alternative has being developed.
Recently, Japan has passed legislation that will allow cars onto the road which have rear facing cameras, rather than mirrors. The idea of wing mirror-free cars isn’t new; many concept cars have eschewed mirrors entirely for cosmetic reasons. The only car currently allowed to drive in Europe without mirrors is the Volkswagen XL1, which was given an exemption to the rule due to its limited production run. Japan has led motoring trends before, however, which could indicate that we may eventual gain mirrorless cars on our own roads.
Mirrors were introduced in 1909, and since them have become a constant safety staple on any car. They do have drawbacks, however, especially in an age where fuel efficiency is increasingly important. Additionally, door mirrors are one of a cars most exposed parts, often prone to damage. If the technology behind car cameras continues to improve, it seems likely that they will become a standard part of vehicles on our shores in the not-too-distant future.