Lexus says its new, seventh-generation ES is set to become available in October 2018 (in the Japanese market, at least) with what it describes as the “world’s first” digital exterior mirrors.

That means the Toyota-backed automaker will effectively beat Audi to the punch, with deliveries of the German brand's e-tron – which is expected to be revealed later in September, with the option of “virtual” side mirrors – set to start in early 2019.

Lexus claims that its new system will make changing lanes “a lot easier and safer”. The luxury brand has installed small exterior cameras on the front doors, which it says provide drivers with a “clearer view of the vehicle's surrounding area”.

The cameras transmit their images onto five-inch displays positioned inside the cabin at the base of the A-pillars. Interestingly, the brand says the digital mirrors are shaped to “resist the accumulation of raindrops and snow”.

The system automatically enhances the corresponding area when indicators are activated, or when the transmission is put into reverse. In addition, the view of areas around the car can be manually enhanced by the driver.

Lexus claims that the system results not only in improved visibility, but also in reduced wind noise.
Lexus digital exterior mirrors