Tesla and the 12-member Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents such companies as BMW, General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen, filed a petition with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to use sideview cameras instead of mirrors.
Tesla and the Alliance argue that cameras could be just as safe while offering gains in aerodynamics. This is because side mirrors have to jut out farther from the car to be effective, and that creates drag.
“In light of future greenhouse gas and corporate average fuel economy requirements beginning in 2017,” their petition says, “camera-based systems represent an opportunity to increase vehicle fuel efficiency through improved aerodynamics by eliminating externally mounted mirrors.”
The filling goes hand in hand with the latest ruling by NHTSA that will require rearview cameras in all light-duty vehicles produced after mid-2018. Tesla sees eliminating side mirrors as a way to extend the driving range of its electric cars.
The use of 360 camera systems and rear view cameras come to support the filling and the automakers that safety will remain at the highest levels.
It remains unknown what BMW’s position is but we have no doubt that Elon Musk will continue to push this issue.