NHTSA To Start Testing Cars With Cameras Instead Of Wing Mirrors

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced it will start testing vehicles with cameras in place of traditional wing mirrors.

Reuters reports that the agency will examine “driving behavior and lane change maneuver execution” in such vehicles and also offer the public a chance to comment. Tests will initially focus on passenger vehicles and later spread to larger ones.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers which represents car manufacturers such as General Motors, Volkswagen, Tesla, and Toyota in the United States, petitioned the NHTSA to allow vehicles with cameras instead of mirrors to be legalized back in 2014. Daimler filed a similar petition to the NHTSA the following year seeking approval of similar devices on heavy-duty trucks.

Also Watch: Audi Shows Production E-Tron’s Virtual Mirrors In Action

The emergence of cameras as mirrors took quite some time to go from concepts into production cars, but is picking up pace. The Lexus ES sold in Japan was the first production vehicle legalized with rear-facing cameras that broadcast live images into the cabin.

The Audi e-tron is also sold with a similar system, but because the technology is only approved in Europe and Japan, both models are fitted with normal wing mirrors in the United States. As an Audi of America spokesman explained, mirrorless systems are “an example of where automotive technology is ahead of the legislative curve” in the U.S.

The all-new Honda e is another vehicle set to soon hit the European market with cameras, and high-priced hypercars like the McLaren Speedtail and Lotus Evija will follow suit.

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  • botornot387

    before we get here, can we just approve Matrix headlights first?! Please and thanks

    • Sébastien

      Can’t believe better headlights are banned in US

  • charlotteharry57

    I’m not sure I’m ready to trust these. I’m also not sure about trusting blind spot monitoring in vehicles that you can barely see out of.

  • Ben

    As long as we can keep road debris from covering the cameras I think this is a good idea. Vehicles have so many cameras right now, its almost a chore to keep them all clean in winter before you drive.

    • Chris Krajnik

      How is it any different than keeping your mirrors clean? GM has a solution for keeping their Rear View Camera for the digital mirrors clean, just add a spray nozzle to wash the camera lense

      • Ben

        Placement and surface area. Mirrors are behind the leading surface and don’t get as caked with slush, salt, snow, etc. The underside of the mirrors, where cameras are, usually do get some type of debris. It takes a lot more to cover your mirrors than it does a small camera lens.

        I’ve seen automakers use spray nozzles, like Ford’s front facing camera has one on the Explorer. However, I haven’t seen any used on the underside of mirrors.

        • Jay

          I hardly ever have to clean my mirrors. My rear and front cameras however do need to be cleaned. My mirrors just don’t get dirty..

          • Ben

            Its different vehicle to vehicle. Vehicle height, mirror shape, aerodynamics are all at play. When I had my Charger, the mirrors stayed spotless during the entire winter. I had a business trip to Wisconsin and my rental, Nissan Altima, always had debris on the mirrors(not enough to obscure vision, but enough to annoy). My 4Runner seems to have icing issues with the mirrors, but it never gets salt debris or anything like that, I assume because of the ride height.

          • Jay

            Could be, I have a Fx50 which is pretty much a crossover. I still would prefer traditional side mirrors with the addition of cameras.

        • Chris Krajnik

          This design would reduce the cross-sectional area but still be a setup like current mirrors, so it shouldn’t be any different than a traditional mirror.


        • Chris Krajnik

          This would be the preferred way to eliminate the mirror cross-section all together and would stay cleaner as well. I was never talking about the Honda-style under the mirror cameras and that doesn’t replace the mirror or make them smaller.


      • Jerry Hightower

        As they add more and more technology the more expensive vehicles get.

    • Stephen G

      Unless ice and snow buildup on my mirrors they are never dirty, even when the car gets filthy.

      • Ben

        Yes, ice and snow can be a real issue. Having a smaller surface area makes it easier for dirt to obscure your vision. Considering all the bugs and glitches automakers have with their head units I’m not sure about replacing a mirror with a camera. Depending on your speed, latency from the camera could be the difference between an accident or not. Regardless of apprehension, I’m sure the technology will still roll out and be refined over the years.

  • Six_Tymes

    no one is asking WHY?

    what is the need? and don’t answer because “driving behavior and lane change maneuver execution.” a camera or other sensor picks that up, WHAT IS THE NEED TO REPLACE THE MIRROR?

    • Ben

      They’ll say the same reason they’re making door handles flush with the body, to increase aerodynamics and somehow improve fuel economy. I doubt mirrors really have that much impact on fuel consumption, but hey, who knows. I prefer actual mirrors, but people like change just because. Like button/knob activated transmissions. I don’t see the quality of life enhancement in that, but its taking over slowly, but surely.

      • Jay

        You’re right about that and it sucks. Not we have to rely on more tech that will eventually go bad instead of a good old actual mirror and gear shifters smh.

  • Stephen G

    My understanding is side view mirrors are a tremendous drag on aerodynamics affecting energy consumption..

  • EyalN

    The side screens in the Audi are very small, The regular mirrors are larger.

    • Jerry Hightower

      I wonder what the price difference is?

  • TheAmerican2point0

    I hope in the future, like 50 years and such, there will still be new, simple cars available. All these touch screens and fancy gimmicks are cool, but I’d honestly like it simple. Easier to work on, and a hell of a lot cheaper

  • Alexandro Pietro

    Follow simple thing replace by complicate trickery.

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