Mitsubishi's mirrorless car cameras highlight distant traffic

It can tell the difference between people, cars and bikes, too.

Mirrorless cars, terrifying as they may sound, are coming. In 2015, the United Nations gave the go-ahead for carmakers to replace mirrors with cameras and display systems, so the race is on to design tech that's fit for the job. Now, Mitsubishi Electric says it's developed the industry's highest-performing vehicle camera, able to detect objects up to 100 meters away.

Camera-monitoring system for mirrorless car.

The technology uses the brand's proprietary AI to give drivers advanced warning of upcoming obstacles, and is expected to help prevent accidents, especially when changing lanes. The system has a visual-cognition mode, which mimics human visual behavior to focus on the right thing in any given field of view, and it can distinguish between object types, such as pedestrians, cars and motorcycles (not that it's okay to drive into any of them, of course). Compared to conventional camera-based systems, this one extends the distance of object detection from 30 meters to 100 meters, and improves object detection accuracy from 14 percent to 81 percent.

Mirrorless cars are expected to launch in Japan as early as next year, a move driven by carmakers that say camera systems provide a wider, blind spot-free view for drivers and are therefore safer. Doing away with bulky mirrors also helps cars become more aerodynamic, which results in lots of selling points, such as faster speeds and better fuel efficiency, so expect other manufacturers to follow Mitsubishi's lead soon.