Of all the concept car technologies, one of our favorites has been the deletion of side-view mirrors in favor of video cameras. Besides improving the look of the car, it'd lower drag and improve fuel economy. However, cost, available technology, and most importantly, the government, stand in the way of this tech making it onto a production model.

It's that last facet that Tesla is seeking to change. As Automotive News explains, when the Model X debuted in concept form, it was without wing mirrors. But when the production car was revealed, it had the conventional mirrors, largely because the camera'd car violated the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Federal Motor Vehicle Safety code (Standard 111, to be precise).

Now comes word that Tesla has actively been lobbying the NHTSA to do away with the standard. It's got breathing room at the moment. We reported a few months ago that the federal mandate regarding backup cameras had been pushed back to 2015. That gives Tesla plenty of time to work the safety administration over regarding the mirror replacement, getting the new tech approved in the next mandate.

While some might scoff at this, there is a precedent for manufacturers influencing this sort of small scale change. As AN points out, Volkswagen hounded the German government to change its legislation in order to ditch the drag-inducing mirrors for video cameras on the ultra-efficient XL1.


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  • 98 Comments
      Jim
      • 1 Year Ago
      I lived in Boston and parked on the streets there for years, so I\'m already aware of an existing technology for removing side mirrors. It\'s called \"snow plows.\"
      Daddy
      • 1 Year Ago
      OK so there's a lot of reasons to look at cameras (aero, weight savings), but there are certain environmental conditions which can foul up a camera performance. Consider driving during an ice storm and the lens gets coated with ice or driving on a muddy road and mud gets splattered on the lens. Side view mirrors handle these problems better then small camera lenses due to their size and placement. Anyone who has a vehicle with a backup cam has dealt with these conditions. Being able to see in blind spots is critical especially when driving at night in icy conditions. (Not road is beautiful California sunny skies in the daytime)
        RyanC
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Daddy
        1. Muddy / dirty camera solution: integrated high power windshield wiper fluid sprayer nozzle 2. Ice: integrated camera lens heater (combined with above solution)
        Bradford
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Daddy
        The Ford Raptor has a wiper on its front camera for this very reason.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Daddy
        Its a lot easier to protect the tiny lens of a camera than a big mirror.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @DaveMart
          And the window that you have to look through to see the mirror.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good! I've been calling for this for years. Perhaps Elon and Tesla have enough political clout now to push this through Congress.
        m_2012
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        Maybe we can send off mirrors along with the dealerships.
      Technoir
      • 1 Year Ago
      FOX NEWSFLASH: "Start up electric car maker Tesla, a firm run by extreme Liberals, has declared war on our side view mirrors!". And "could this be a plot by Obama to spy on users?...YOU decide".
      Greg
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can support eliminating wing mirrors, but I also appreciate the no power, no tech solution. I saw a mirror setup on a concept car that used multiple mirrors/prisms to project an image of the ground near the car (for parking) onto a mirror inside the car on the A pillar. If a similar device could be created that puts everything inside the car but doesn't use electronics, that would be the ideal solution.
      LynxFX
      • 1 Year Ago
      As a car enthusiast I like the idea of using cameras. As a motorcyclist, I appose getting rid of side mirrors. I use the mirrors on other cars all the time to see what the driver is doing and if he sees me. This especially becomes important in CA where lane splitting is legal. Taking away mirrors takes away one more tool we use to assess the environment to safely pass or to back off.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Year Ago
        @LynxFX
        Check out my post detailing Nissan's technology for displaying hazards all around. The bottom line is that using cameras instead of mirrors is one of the enablers for the car to alert the driver to hazards where it is difficult for him or her to see them, and we are even getting to the point where the car will take over and not allow the car to drive into motorcyclists if the driver tries to do so.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @DaveMart
          They are pretty much a bundle of technology. Hazard notification is going to be much better using side view cameras than mirrors. Objects there are in a form computers can understand.
          LynxFX
          • 1 Year Ago
          @DaveMart
          That technology I would definitely be for. I know some vehicles now will show alerts in the mirror if objects get too close or are in your blind spot.
      Luke
      • 1 Year Ago
      The NHTSA needs to get with the times. Another example is headlights. The technology exists to allow drivers to have their high-beams on all the time while the car shutters or shades the area projecting at an oncoming car. This technology is being rolled out in Europe while we, the once-ahead-on-technology America, can only watch.
      Ken Thompson
      • 1 Year Ago
      I guess these people have never had their cars broken into. Every time I put a cheep $70 deck into my car it gets broken into. Every time I leave anything that looks of value just sitting in my car, it gets broken into. Lem me just have nice video cameras as my side mirror... You might as well gift wrap them and put a (To: Thief From: Me) tag on in.
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ken Thompson
        Dude you need to move.
        crshcrstr
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ken Thompson
        Nobody steals stock stereos, though, because there's no money in it. It can only fit in one type of car that already has that stereo. The same would apply to this. It would be too proprietary to fit in anything except the same car, and that severely limits your ability to sell it on the black market.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not sure whether I support this or not.
      Drakkon
      • 1 Year Ago
      THERE IS A WAR ON SIDE MIRRORS! Outrage! Shame!
      m_2012
      • 1 Year Ago
      You did it on thousands of cars meeting current safety regulations or just 1 POS Geo meeting none?
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