On the same day as US safety regulators set a 2018 deadline for the standard implementation of reverse-view cameras in new vehicles, Tesla Motors and the US automotive industry’s key lobby group filed a petition pushing for the right to replace external mirrors with side-mounted cameras.
Automotive News reports Tesla and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen, and seven other major US car makers, are lobbying the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to change the laws relating to side mirrors.
Side mirrors are currently required on all new motor vehicles in the US under federal safety standard No. 111, but Tesla and the Alliance claim cameras have the potential to be just as safe while offering aerodynamic improvements, aiding efficiency gains.
“In light of future greenhouse gas and corporate average fuel economy requirements beginning in 2017, camera-based systems represent an opportunity to increase vehicle fuel efficiency through improved aerodynamics by eliminating externally mounted mirrors,” the petition reads.
Tesla has been pushing for side cameras to be legalised for more than two years. The original Tesla Model X prototype (pictured top) debuted in 2012 with side cameras before an updated concept released the following year adopted conventional mirrors.
The Volkswagen XL1, a limited-run two-seater that is billed as the world’s most fuel efficient car, is already available with rear-facing cameras in select European markets (pictured above).
The NHTSA is yet to respond to the petition.