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.
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.