After a century of duty, the humble rearview mirror is about to get a makeover.
Two automakers have introduced rear cameras that feed a video image onto the rearview mirror, eliminating blind spots when the vehicle is going forward.
If motorists don't want the video image, they can toggle to a conventional mirror.
General Motors Co. offers a Gentex Corp.-designed rear display for Cadillac, Buick and Chevrolet. Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. offers a Panasonic Corp. unit in three Japan-market models, and the U.S. will get the rear display on the 2018 Armada SUV, according to auto industry watchers at IHS Markit.
IHS predicts that other automakers soon will follow. It expects global production of 1.8 million panoramic rearview displays by 2025, up from 70,000 this year.
"There is a lot of interest across the board," said IHS technology analyst Brian Rhodes. "We see a lot of development in North America and Japan."
The biggest benefits would come when cameras replace side mirrors, enabling an aerodynamic upgrade that would improve fuel economy by 1 or 2 mpg.
By 2025, IHS expects annual production of 423,000 side-view camera displays worldwide, although U.S. regulators have not OK'd the elimination of side mirrors.
Automakers have asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to approve that technology, but the agency has not announced a timetable for review.
In addition, IHS forecasts 2025 global production of 1.4 million camera-mirror hybrids, which combine a camera with a traditional mirror.
In the U.S. market, automakers can install side mirrors with optional video displays, but they can't eliminate the side mirrors. Europe will get the technology first — likely in the next year or two, according to Rhodes.
The camera systems mean higher value placed in the plastic-bodied mirror housings and the electronics housed in them.