After more than two years of petitioning regulators on his own, Elon Musk has had Tesla join forces with the 12-member Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers lobbying group (representing most of the major companies such as GM, Daimler, Toyota and others) to seek permission to replace side view mirrors with camera technology. The request comes right on the heels of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) delayed decision to require all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds to incorporate backup cameras that show a 10 by 20 foot zone directly behind the vehicle as a standard feature by May 2018. Though it’s worth noting that the new rule still requires the presence if a rearview mirror, we all know that this mirror resides within the cabin and has no impact on drag coefficients.
Tesla’s original concept for the Model X envisioned a design that used side view cameras instead of mirrors which radically improved its ae
rodynamics – by up to 5% according to some estimates. However, the Model X was ultimately unveiled at the 2013 Detroit auto show with conventional side view mirrors. Losing the mirrors eliminates a substantial amount of drag and wind noise at higher speeds while adversely impacting fuel economy.
With increasing frequency, other concept vehicles have emerged using camera technology instead of side mirrors, but until the NHTSA passes new legislation to permit side cameras, the U.S. Regulation known as Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 111 will continue to thwart progress in this area.
Source: Automative News