The Nikkei news agency reports that Valeo and Ichikoh Industries will jointly develop an onboard camera system for cars that replaces the traditional side- and rear-view mirrors. The report also said that they are planning to start mass production in 2018.

The report noted that Japan’s transport ministry recently revised safety guidelines to allow these s—called ‘digital mirrors’,  camera images displayed on monitors.

Valeo and Ichikoh have worked together on lighting systems, but are now expanding their collaboration to take advantage of Valeo’s expertise in sensors and Ichikoh’s experience with mirrors. Valeo will develop the imaging system linking to the liquid crystal display monitors while Ichikoh will handle the mirror casing, Nikkei said.

Valeo holds a 42% stake in Ichikoh.

While more features are being packed into rearview mirrors, embedded camera technology is developing quickly, researchers note.

Audi’s R18 Le Mans prototype has no rear window. Instead, it features a digital rearview mirror. A small camera located at the rear of the car relays images to a 7.7-inch digital screen in place of the interior rearview mirror. This technology could trigger more styled supercars to eliminate the rear window.

Nissan used the 2014 Geneva show to reveal its so-called Smart rearview mirror, claiming it as the world’s first LCD monitor that provides rearward visibility under various conditions, but also allows the driver the ability to switch between the LCD monitor and the traditional rearview mirror, depending on the driver’s preference.

See also: Global light vehicle OE mirrors market – forecasts to 2031