As far back as I can remember, automobiles have had side view mirrors but in a recent and surprising move, Tesla and the twelve-member Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers want to replace this ingenious device with cameras.

In a petition sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), hi-tech cameras are being offered as a substitute for side and rear view mirrors.

This comes right after a federal ruling that all auto models sold in the U.S. by 2018 be equipped with rear visibility cameras.

image alt

Tesla and the Alliance, which is composed of the BMW Group, Chrysler Group LLC, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz USA, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen Group and Volvo Car Corporation 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.”

image alt

Fuel efficiency through better aerodynamics is one of the main reasons given aside from less wind noise, quieter cabin and more innovative design concepts that can be incorporated without the side view mirror, and all without it becoming a safety issue because of the camera’s versatility and wider area of coverage.

This is, so far, a US-initiative that may have a worldwide effect if replacing side view mirrors prove to be safer and makes the vehicle more efficient in, literally, every way, shape and form.