Tesla Motors and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, automakers’ main Washington lobbying group, filed a petition last week with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration seeking permission to replace side mirrors with cameras.
The motion comes just as federal regulators finalized a long-awaited mandate for rearview cameras and brings concerns about safety that the NHTSA will take into consideration as its first priority in studying the matter.
Tesla feels the use of cameras has a lot of plusses going for it. For one, the are much smaller than side mirror assemblies, which will aid with fuel economy and aerodynamics. Unlike mirrors, which have to be installed in a driver’s line of sight, cameras can be places just about anywhere.
Tesla’s petition states that allowing automakers to use cameras would help them “innovate and address field of view, fuel economy and aerodynamics challenges for specific segments of vehicles.”
Aerodynamics and weight reduction are a critical component of Tesla’s plan in creating sleek, sexy-looking electric cars.
Safety experts, however, worry that drivers reliant on cameras won’t turn around and check out their blind spots before driving and that relying on screens and cameras could make them complacent, which could cause accidents.
Since automakers tend to put the bulk of their money into technology, the result is more expensive cars. Generally, older people only have the means to spend that kind of money which may cause another problem in that research suggests older buyers may be prone to misunderstanding the new technology.
The bright spot for Tesla is that new NHTSA regulations issued last week will require backup cameras in all new cars by mid-2018.
So, just like the cell phone before it, expect older drivers to learn technology they may not have ever dreamed of and expect Tesla to keep pushing the boundaries of amazing technological advancements.
Source: Automative News