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Rear view mirrors under threat from cameras

Team OD  /
30 Apr 2014 17:27:35 IST

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Rear view mirrors may soon be a thing of the past in USA. Tesla and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers are trying to convince the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) that they are redundant in this age of cameras.

The petition submitted to the NHTSA will have some strong backing considering that the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers consists of giants like General Motors, Volkswagen, BMW, Toyota and Ford among others.

Volkswagen XL1Volkswagen XL1

Tesla CEO Elon Musk's argument is that RVMs, which are essentially large protrusions that stick out of the body, cause drag and reduce the aerodynamic efficiency of a vehicle. Considering that Tesla vehicles are electrically powered aerodynamic efficiency plays a large part in dictating how range efficient these vehicles are. The same applies to other manufacturers who are working on various energy efficient cars that could benefit from such a regulation.

Tesla Model XTesla Model X

Understandably, Tesla's intention is not that we drive blind but that tiny cameras replace these bulky mirrors and send a video feed to screens that lie inside the car. We believe it is a realistic solution as long as these screens are positioned in a way that the driver doesn't have to take his eye off the road. Like in the Volkswagen XL1 where the screen is positioned near the A-pillar where the driver would instinctively look.

Volkswagen XL 1The camera replaces the ORVMs in the XL1

Such petitions generally take a long time to become a reality but we could see the result in the US sometime next year. However, it could be a while before such a change makes its way to India where such technologies don't have a widespread footing yet.

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