Mirrors – one of the most successful parts of the car: it is not surprising that they change so little over time. Why refuse them? In the first place – due to aerodynamics. According to statistics collected by German scientists, the contribution of the protruding mirrors to the frontal resistance of the car can reach 5%. If the mirror housings are completely removed from the air flow, passenger cars in normal conditions can reduce consumption by 0.1 liter per 100 kilometers (and for high-speed traffic – to 0.4 liters per 100 kilometers). And it is especially valuable for trucks with their large mirrors and huge annual runs – according to scientists’ estimates, the gain in fuel consumption can reach 2.9 percent.
Why didn’t they put video cameras instead of mirrors earlier if the technologies are ready? So far, the laws were not ready. Technical regulations in most countries are based on the rules developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. Now it is impossible without mirrors: the installation of a salon rear-view mirror and two side mirrors on passenger cars is obligatory according to UNECE Rule No. 46. On commercial vehicles, it is possible to replace mirrors with cameras – but not the main ones, but only additional ones (for example, those that show the area under the windshield of the truck). But a new version of the rules is about to come into effect, which will allow replacing all mirrors with cameras. Work on it went on for several years: the first draft of the UNECE was submitted back in 2010. The document will be based on the ISO 16505 standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization. The first swallows to get rid of the usual mirrors will be the Audi e-tron electric car in Europe and the updated Mercedes-Benz Actros truck in Europe.
Legislation in the United States is very different from European, and so far they are not refusing from mirrors. Back in 2016, Tesla was planning to release its Model X electric crossover with cameras in place of side mirrors (they can be seen in the pictures of pre-production cars). Then, the Teslovites, along with other members of the Alliance of automakers, filed a petition with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: automobile manufacturers hoped to change the Federal Safety Standard for Wheeled Vehicles (FMVSS) No. 111, but they refused – and Tesla Model X came out with ordinary mirrors. But the corresponding changes in Japanese law made in 2016 – which allowed Toyota in the home market to begin selling Lexus ES sedans without rear-view mirrors.
But there are still a lot of questions: what to do if the camera lens starts to “sweat” like the lights of many modern cars? Yes, and how to be in the bitter cold? Do you have to wait for the LCD monitors to warm up?