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Will future cars even have rear windows?

Sunlight

Member
May 7, 2014
329
729
South Africa
With 360deg cameras; parking sensors; self drive capabilities et al, will rear widows be needed?

Eliminating the the rear window will strengthen cars for safety, allow better design, improve aero and remove a fiddle detail.

the only negative would be in light, rear vision and 'airiness' for back seat passengers but there tech solutions to these - future aircraft may have no windows and just projected moving images.....

anyway when did you last crane your neck to look out of a rear window!?
 

Model 3

Active Member
Jul 13, 2014
2,133
1,301
Norway
anyway when did you last crane your neck to look out of a rear window!?

Last time i reversed my car into my small garage, and then about every time i do drive in reverse. Well, except when i drive with my roof down in the cab, then there is no window do look out of when I "crane my neck to look out behind my car" ;)
 

wdolson

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jul 24, 2015
7,737
10,546
Clark Co, WA
Cars will probably have rear windows for a long time to come. If the camera system fails, there needs to be a way to see out the back window. Tesla wanted to eliminate the external rear view mirrors on the Model X and replace them with cameras, but it didn't meet the vehicle code in many jurisdictions, so it has mirrors.
 

wallet.dat

Member
Sep 4, 2013
522
230
SW
Mirrors and windows have sharper graphics, much higher dynamic range, nearly zero latency, and are much cheaper than a camera with 20+ inch display ;)
 

gregincal

Active Member
Oct 26, 2012
3,773
2,315
Santa Cruz, CA
Last time i reversed my car into my small garage, and then about every time i do drive in reverse. Well, except when i drive with my roof down in the cab, then there is no window do look out of when I "crane my neck to look out behind my car" ;)

I reverse my car into my very small garage every day (2 inches clearance on either mirror) and I never turn my head around. I get much better feedback looking at the mirrors and rear camera. That said, why would you want to eliminate a window? The trend is to try and have more and larger windows, not less.
 

HankLloydRight

No Roads
Supporting Member
Jan 18, 2014
13,035
11,084
Connecticut
Cars will probably have rear windows for a long time to come. If the camera system fails, there needs to be a way to see out the back window.

Nonesense. Every truck on the road drives without rear windows. My BMW had the rear-view mirror fail and I had to send it away to get repaired for a few weeks.. .while it was gone, I had no problems whatsoever only using my side mirrors. There have been plenty of times driving many cars over the years when there has been luggage or other loads totally blocking the rear-view mirror and rear-window, and again, it's no problem at all to drive only using the side mirrors. Have you ever driven a truck?

- - - Updated - - -

I reverse my car into my very small garage every day (2 inches clearance on either mirror) and I never turn my head around. I get much better feedback looking at the mirrors and rear camera..

Exactly the same here. Using the rear-window would give me no information needed to back into my garage. It's 90% side mirrors and 10% rear camera just to see how far to back up against the wall to park. Rear window never used.
 

wdolson

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jul 24, 2015
7,737
10,546
Clark Co, WA
Nonesense. Every truck on the road drives without rear windows. My BMW had the rear-view mirror fail and I had to send it away to get repaired for a few weeks.. .while it was gone, I had no problems whatsoever only using my side mirrors. There have been plenty of times driving many cars over the years when there has been luggage or other loads totally blocking the rear-view mirror and rear-window, and again, it's no problem at all to drive only using the side mirrors. Have you ever driven a truck?

You have a point. It's been a while since I drove a pickup and it had a good view out the back window, but I know many pickups don't. I've never driven a semi though I have driven a U-Haul many moons ago.

I think it will be a long time before a requirement for some sort of passive rear view device is eliminated. If the car looses the electrical system, the mirrors and back window don't go opaque.
 

gregincal

Active Member
Oct 26, 2012
3,773
2,315
Santa Cruz, CA
Again I question the whole premise that the rear window is some sort of negative that only exists for safety reasons. People like windows. The Model X looks like it's putting in a huge front window just because it will look nice. People pay extra for skylights. Why would you get rid of a window?
 

Skotty

2014 S P85 | 2020 3 P19"
Jun 27, 2013
2,511
1,852
Kansas City, MO
You could eliminate all of the windows, which would be great for vampires. However, as that niche demographic has poor representation, I don't expect it to get a lot of traction. As for the rest of us, I think most folks will still want rear windows, and we will continue to see them for everything but supercars and cargo carriers.
 

spentan

Active Member
Dec 26, 2012
1,516
452
SoCal
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1443028072.312207.jpg
 

bwa

Member
Dec 8, 2014
316
4
Aptos, Ca
You have a point. It's been a while since I drove a pickup and it had a good view out the back window, but I know many pickups don't. I've never driven a semi though I have driven a U-Haul many moons ago.

I think it will be a long time before a requirement for some sort of passive rear view device is eliminated. If the car looses the electrical system, the mirrors and back window don't go opaque.

In truck driving school and truck driving instruction manuals, they say not having rear view ability through the rear view mirror and the rear window is a deficit that truck drivers need to get very good at overcoming, and in addition, they teach us to learn about and mentally map all our blind spots and what's in them (probabilistically) and never to underestimate their danger, and always error on the side of caution. They say you have to show mental proficiency in remembering a mental map of what's in your blind spots at the same time as knowing when to get out to make sure you have verified there's nothing going to be in them or something you don't know you need to know. They say you can use your own eyes or get assistance from someone else.

I agree with what they teach, require us to learn, and test for (when they're doing it right, which the good schools do).

Therefore, I simultaneously agree it's possible to drive without rear window view, but that it's not the same thing as, ease as, nor danger level as having that window there. I'm just trying to inject a little sanity into the conversation.

But, I want a completely windowless car with only projected camera displays, so I'm certainly not a full window purist by any means. While my main application is a home with wheels, I think that is kind of irrelevant to the discussion.

In the future many spaceships will have all of these questions going on too. Um, actually, probably already been an issue since the beginning of space travel engineering and currently still. Probably any vessel has these issues. Big boats use computer screens to drive through water. Not having a rear view window or having it I think is part of a larger navigation and steering engineering issue that has lots of solutions.

I'm extremely open minded on this issue. But a free for all it ain't. Whatever solutions are made, and I'd love to see interesting new solutions, have to be completely cogent, by which I mean completely functionally safe within the parameters needed. I let the imagination reign, engineers engineer, and the testers test (with a lot of those people being the same people by functional necessity).
 
Last edited:

DanKeen

Member
Jun 19, 2013
33
12
San Jose, CA
My Lotus has no rear window - it's just a solid composite panel with zero visibility. Unfortunately, due to the DMV, it still came with a rear view mirror. So before I yanked it off I had a mirror that showed me a panel. Yay!

It sucks not having a rear window. I can drive just fine without it, but backing out of the garage / any spot / etc is a much more tedious process, and side mirror alignment is much more critical.

I'm a huge car nut and I'm seriously looking forward to fully autonomous cars. But I want them to have 360 degree windows so I can relax and enjoy the scenery :)
 

Ludus

Member
May 1, 2013
367
126
Michigan
Again I question the whole premise that the rear window is some sort of negative that only exists for safety reasons. People like windows. The Model X looks like it's putting in a huge front window just because it will look nice. People pay extra for skylights. Why would you get rid of a window?

I agree about people liking Windows. No real advantage to eliminating a rear window. Once it's self driving though there's no need for any Windows including the windshield so electrochromic darkening might be an option. People do like privacy or might like to lay down and sleep while the car drives them someplace.
 

AudubonB

One can NOT induce accuracy with precision!
Mar 24, 2013
8,290
29,150
A reminder that it is not only (most) commercial trucks that already do not have rear windows, as HankL Writes - and as bwa states for which containing a CDL requires specific training - but also almost every light truck that has emplaced on it a slide-in camper foregoes any real rear through-visibility*. None of those drivers need obtain a CDL or training. And I can vouch that many, many pickups laden with objects other than campers - gear, bales of hay, totes and so on - possess nothing more than a Window to Nowhere. Lastly, slap on a trailer of any height and the only view any rear window is going to show is of bug splat.

*those fresnel-lensed through-viewers are as close to useless as to make no difference
 

Peter Egan

Member
Dec 13, 2015
53
6
Artarmon, NSW, Australia
The autopilot does not rely on the view from inside the car - all windows could go. I believe John Deere has developed tractors that have no drivers cabin or controls - the tractor follows programmed routes and has a remote control. We should expect a lot of delivery vehicles on our roads that have a big trunk but no passenger cabin. The latest Russian tank (the military type) has an armoured cabin for the operators - its drive by wire and has video cameras and screens for them. The very small windows appear to be for emergency use.
 

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