Cars of the Future Might Not Have Side View Mirrors

Luke Vandezande
by Luke Vandezande

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Tesla are hoping to be allowed to leave side-view mirrors behind.

The group, which includes industry giants General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen filed a petition with the national Highway Traffic Safety Administration yesterday to replace side mirrors with cameras. They argue that side mirrors hamper aerodynamics and that cameras would offer improved aerodynamics to future automobiles and subsequently improved fuel economy.

Currently, side mirrors are required by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 111. Yesterday, NHTSA also announced its final decision to require that all new light-duty vehicles must be sold with rearview cameras starting with the 2018 model year.

Volkswagen uses side-view cameras on its super-efficient XL-1, a vehicle that emphasized minimizing aerodynamic drag. Tesla’s original concept version of the upcoming Model X crossover also used backup cameras although later versions appeared with traditional side mirrors.

The transition to high-resolution displays in place of mirrors is already making its way into other automotive applications. Nissan announced something called the “Smart Rearview Mirror” earlier this year that serves the same purpose by connecting a high definition display to a camera.

Audi uses rearview cameras in its R18 LMP1 race cars as well.

To a lesser extent, some automakers already use cameras for outward visibility. Nissan and Mercedes-Benz both offer 360-degree bird’s eye views of their cars as parallel parking aids by connecting the view from several outward-facing cameras.

GALLERY: Volkswagen XL1

[Source: Automotive News]

Luke Vandezande
Luke Vandezande

Luke is an energetic automotive journalist who spends his time covering industry news and crawling the internet for the latest breaking story. When he isn't in the office, Luke can be found obsessively browsing used car listings, drinking scotch at his favorite bar and dreaming of what to drive next, though the list grows a lot faster than his bank account. He's always on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="">Twitter</A> looking for a good car conversation. Find Luke on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="">Twitter</A> and <A title="Luke on Google+" href="">Google+</A>.

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  • Jeff T Jeff T on Apr 01, 2014

    Makes sense but snow and ice buildup will be an issue. We all dont live in Texas!

    • See 1 previous
    • Jeff T Jeff T on Apr 02, 2014

      What happens with water droplets over the lens? Living in Canada my backup camera is useless a third of the year. If it was heated condensation also becomes an issue.