The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers lobby group as well as Tesla Motors has filed a petition with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) seeking permission to have side mirrors replaced by small cameras that would display a digital image inside the cabin. Currently side mirrors are mandatory as per law, but they do create a lot of drag and wind noise, especially at highway speeds.
After giving a go ahead to NHTSA on its decision, the Auto Alliance group, including the BMW Group, Chrysler Group LLC, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen Group and Volvo Cars North America, issued the following statement:
“Today, the Alliance is petitioning NHTSA to allow automakers to use cameras as an option to the conventional side-view and rearview mirrors. Today’s mirrors provide a robust and simple means to view the surrounding areas of a vehicle. Cameras will open opportunities for additional design flexibility and innovation. This idea has been in development since the 1990s, when the U.S. Department of Energy partnered with automakers to produce an energy-efficient concept car with cameras instead of side-view mirrors.”
Already previewed on some concept cars, such as the Tesla Model X prototype, the side mirror-replacing cameras can significantly boost fuel economy of vehicles due to less drag, something automakers are keen to achieve due to stricter fuel economy and emissions.