The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced recently that vehicles in the U.S. will soon be required to have backup cameras installed as a standard feature. Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers have petitioned the NHTSA to allow exterior-mounted rearview mirrors to be replaced with cameras. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 111 requires cars to have side mirrors, but Tesla Motors and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers wants the safety standard to be revised to allow camera-based rearview systems.
The consortium of the Automobile Manufacturers includes 12 auto manufacturers like General Motors, Ford, and BMW. The automakers report that the removal of the mirror allows for an increase in aerodynamics for the vehicles. The change can lead to greater driving distances on a single charge or fuel tank. The petition does not have a timeline for the implementation of their requested revision. However, the petition cites an international standard expected that will be finalized in November, which the NHTSA can use as a model.
Last year Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk spoke with the Secretary of Transportation about changing the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 111, but the process of a change “takes ages.” U.S. Congress asked the Department of Transportation to create a rule in 2011 to require cameras or other backup warning devices on all new cars and light trucks with full implementation by 2014. Now the final rule applies to vehicles built on or after May 1, 2018.