Patents for Mirrorless Cars on the Rise | Be Korea-savvy

Patents for Mirrorless Cars on the Rise

BMW's i8 Mirrorless concept car unveiled in 2016. (image: BMW)

BMW’s i8 Mirrorless concept car unveiled in 2016. (image: BMW)

DAEJEON, May 15 (Korea Bizwire) – Last year, South Korea lawmakers revised legislation related to vehicle parts standards, permitting cars to have their traditional wing mirrors replaced with camera monitoring systems.

These so-called mirrorless cars are the imminent future of the automotive industry, and they’re much safer than conventional side view mirrors, offering a wider view, and eliminating blind spots, industry watchers say. 

They also help bring down wind noise resulting from the mirrors, and increase fuel efficiency with less air resistance. 

According to the Korea Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), South Korea has seen patents for rear-view technology gain momentum in the past few years. The number of applications increased from 32 in 2013 to 52 in 2014 and 66 in 2015. Although applications dropped back to 48 last year, the new legal revision will trigger greater efforts this year, officials anticipate. 

Over the past decade, businesses filed most of the patents (294), accounting for 58 percent of all applications. Individuals (110, 22 percent), foreigners (58, 11 percent), and universities and research institutes (44, 9 percent) followed. 

By companies, Hyundai Motor Company led the way with 51, followed by Hyundai Mobis (41), SL Mirrortech (21), LG Innotek (16), Samsung Electro-Mechanics (13), and LG Electronics (12). 

“Mirrorless cars have their advantages, but at the same time weaknesses, including poor visibility when the cameras are smeared or stained by rain or other debris, or increased chances of malfunction due to their more intricate electronic parts,” said Kim Sung-nam, the director of the automobile evaluation division at the KIPO. 

“The key to commercializing camera monitoring systems is in assuring their safety and durability, which is why we expect more patents along the way.”

In 2015, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) made changes to permit the use of mirrorless cars. South Korean neighbor Japan also legalized the use of mirrorless vehicles last year.

By Kevin Lee ( 

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