Tesla has been busy turning the car industry upside down in many ways: producing an electric car with a 300-mile range, using a direct sales channel, and challenging many other conventions in the industry. Now, Tesla is moving to shed side mirrors from its future vehicles. Currently, all vehicles that operate on U.S. roadways must have side mirrors as a safety measure. Those side mirrors create aerodynamic drag, which in turn decrease the efficiency of the car. The electric car company instead wants to use cameras to show drivers a view of what is to the side and behind the vehicle.
To lobby the federal government to allow cameras instead of side mirrors, Tesla has joined up with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Members of the Alliance include General Motors, Toyota, and VW. The automakers filed an official petition with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for permission to ditch mirrors in favor of cameras.
Now that NHTSA has officially announced that all cars must be outfitted with rearview cameras come the middle of 2018, automakers feel it is the prime moment to push for the even wider use of cameras to provide drivers with visibility around their car.
Tesla is hardly the first automaker to show off a concept vehicle that uses cameras instead of side mirrors, like in the concept Model X. Some automakers like Nissan and Mercedes-Benz currently offer cars with camera systems that give the driver a top-down or bird’s eye view of the car, helping with tight parking situations. There are even some car models that are outfitted with cameras that can peek around corners, allowing drivers to see if a car or cyclist is approaching, helping prevent accidents.