Side cameras / mirrors - any NHTSA updates?

Jhodgesatmb

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I subscribed to updates from the NHTSA on the side mirror/camera ANPRM but there hasn’t seemed to have been any movement. Has anyone else heard anything? I don’t want to start the discussion over which is better, again, but I am very interested in what the government decides. I thought that they had 2 years to make a ruling (from about the time of the CT unveiling).
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ÆCIII

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I have mixed feelings. Slight refocusing delays aside, I do think the camera views would be fine for most situations and the CT design gives no choice really for the inside rear view. But the larger extended side mirrors sometimes seen on traditional trucks does come to mind, as they are extended out for a functional reason mainly to assure views around to the back corners of trailers while backing and driving on highways, etc. Many aftermarket truck side mirrors have elements for both wide angle and standard views giving drivers a choice. For many trailers there might not be a good camera substitute to match this functionality, unless Tesla could make the side cameras extend outward somehow optionally when towing a trailer. They might even need a 'dual-camera' assembly to have both near and wide angle views. I also sometimes appreciate the clearance from the vehicle that the side mirrors inherently provide. I also think it would be cool if they had some kind of extendable/foldable side mirror that would totally conceal into the CT body if desired, but that would be likely expensive for initial designs and implementation. Either way, I think this is one of the tougher decisions NHTSA and DOT is having to make.
 
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NCCyberTruck

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The Mclaren speed tail doesn’t have side view mirrors and uses cameras instead. It sure if that was because it was a limited production vehicle or if it’s because it is becoming allowable. Anyhow I’m assuming Tesla will have some trick up their sleeve to sort this out
 

rr6013

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I have mixed feelings. Slight refocusing delays aside, I do think the camera views would be fine for most situations and the CT design gives no choice really for the inside rear view. But the larger extended side mirrors sometimes seen on traditional trucks does come to mind, as they are extended out for a functional reason mainly to assure views around to the back sides of trailers while backing and driving on highways, etc. Many aftermarket truck side mirrors have elements for both wide angle and standard views giving drivers a choice. For many trailers there might not be a good camera substitute to match this functionality, unless Tesla could make the side cameras extend outward somehow optionally when towing a trailer. They might even need a 'dual-camera' assembly to have both near and wide angle views. I also sometimes appreciate the clearance from the vehicle that the side mirrors inherently provide. I also think it would be cool if they had some kind of extendable/foldable side mirror that would totally conceal into the CT body if desired, but that would be likely expensive for initial designs and implementation. Either way, I think this is one of the tougher decisions NHTSA and DOT is having to make.
NHTSA hopefully rule cameras in for mirror replacement once they establish a measurable parameter for image resolution, pixel size and set a lense specification. Adjusting to differing cameras is my biggest learning hurdle when confronting in-vehicle camera images that aren’t reversed like that of a mirror.

An anachronism from last century, outside rearview mirrors are legacy bolt-ons that camera technology supercedes. Dir. of Safety of the third largest irregular route carrier in the US, many a accidents review hearing but the worst being the young heavy haul driver who opened his door, stepped onto his door sill plate to exit the cab when BAM a set of mirrors took off half his face on the leftside.

Reconstructive surgery and learning to walk all over again he couldn’t drive due to a loss of vision in one eye, couldn’t smile but was put back together in a jumble with what parts were left to work with.

Cars and trucks use outside mirrors as width gauges, intimidation for bike riders and create over-dependence for lane changes. Good at driving a trailer backwards in mirrors as forwards, I put a greater amount of trust in mirrors than I even should. Cars have “Image in mirror is closer than it appears” magnification which furthered an attachment to mirrors. Pickups utilize bi-directional split mirror magnification focused on a blindspot. Millions have been made selling stick-on mirror “fisheye” lenses.

I look forward to a new rule from NTHSA. There’s a lot of cruft.
 

TruckElectric

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Either way, I think this is one of the tougher decisions NHTSA and DOT is having to make.
Not at all.

Japan has had camera mirrors since 2016 https://www.motor1.com/news/64810/japan-approves-camera-based-rearview-mirrors/



"In FMCSA’s decision to grant the waiver, the agency said the system eliminates blind spots on both sides of the truck and expands field-of-view by an estimated 25%. If the system prevents just one side impact, it more than pays for itself, and the fuel economy savings – which at 3% over 100,000 miles could be about $1,300 per year – are just icing on the cake." can-stoneridges-rearview-camera-system-replace-mirrors


"In March 2014, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers — a trade group representing General Motors Co., Volkswagen AG , Toyota Motor Corp. and others, along with Tesla Inc., petitioned NHTSA to use camera-based rear or side-vision systems. A similar petition was filed by Daimler AG in 2015 seeking approval for camera use instead of rearview mirrors in heavy-duty trucks. Those petitions are still pending."
"The technology is already approved in Europe and Japan."https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2019/08/28/538122.htm

It's time to catch up to progress.
 
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Luke42

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For many trailers there might not be a good camera substitute to match this functionality, unless Tesla could make the side cameras extend outward somehow optionally when towing a trailer.
While I agree with what you're saying here in an engineering sense, the aftermarket has come up with a clever solution with fairly wide applicability.

The Furrion wireless camera system used by RVers (high-priced, mid-functionality, good-reputation) has a solution to this problem:
https://furrion.com/collections/cameras/products/7-vision-s-3-camera-system-with-sharkfin

The cameras go on the front-left and front-light corners of the trailer.

The cameras use a 2.4ghz wireless protocol to communicate with a screen placed in the cab of the tow vehicle. It's a separate screen, and completely independent of the truck's tech-stack (except for requiring a 12V-nominal power supply).

Not every trailer uses this style of marker lights, but a lot of travel trailers (including mine) do, and I think I've seen this style of marker lights on many other kinds of trailers as well.

The cameras share a power supply with the marker lights. The big drawback is that you have to have your trailer lights on when you use the camera system -- at least with the way my trailer is wired. Under US traffic rules, keeping your lights on when you're towing is widely considered a good for visibility+safety, but I understand that the meaning of driving with your lights on in the daytime varies around the world.

The bottom line is that, while a solution like this can't possibly work for every kind of trailer out there, a 75% solution is already available and it works reasonably well.

Disclaimer: I use the Furrion backup camera on the back of my TT, but I haven't driven with these side-view cameras yet. They're not strictly necessary with my setup, but they might still be a worthwhile addition.

Disclaimer 2: There are competing systems which work similarly, and many of them are a better value. I paid through the nose for the Furrion system because I wanted a turnkey installation and had a deadline -- and I basically got what I paid for. Knowing what I know now, the competing systems are definitely worth a look.
 
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Crissa

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Installing a camera on a trailer is super-easy and you'd get a better view than mirrors.

The simplest ones are just a composite cable you plug into your headset or wiring harness. That's what it was on my Mazda.

-Crissa
 
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Jhodgesatmb

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I have mixed feelings. Slight refocusing delays aside, I do think the camera views would be fine for most situations and the CT design gives no choice really for the inside rear view. But the larger extended side mirrors sometimes seen on traditional trucks does come to mind, as they are extended out for a functional reason mainly to assure views around to the back sides of trailers while backing and driving on highways, etc. Many aftermarket truck side mirrors have elements for both wide angle and standard views giving drivers a choice. For many trailers there might not be a good camera substitute to match this functionality, unless Tesla could make the side cameras extend outward somehow optionally when towing a trailer. They might even need a 'dual-camera' assembly to have both near and wide angle views. I also sometimes appreciate the clearance from the vehicle that the side mirrors inherently provide. I also think it would be cool if they had some kind of extendable/foldable side mirror that would totally conceal into the CT body if desired, but that would be likely expensive for initial designs and implementation. Either way, I think this is one of the tougher decisions NHTSA and DOT is having to make.
Given how many countries have allowed the use of side-view cameras, I do not think this is a tough decision for the NHTSA to make from a technical point of view. I suspect it will be a political decision.

I did not want to get into a 'religious' discussion of the merits of mirrors vs cameras, but the one thing I would note is that side mirrors cannot see behind trailers ("views around to the back sides of trailers"). They provide views of the side of vehicle and anything being towed. The only way to get a view behind a towed item is with another camera, as some have done, but that is a separate discussion.

I suspect that Tesla will put off making a call about the mirrors until the NHTSA either makes a decision or they grant Tesla an exemption.
 

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A while back I did some rough calcs on the drag from side mirrors. I can't remember the exact cross sectional area I used (I think it was roughly the size of SUV mirrors), and I think I chose a Cd of 0.4 (but not positive, I image CT's would be more efficient). Long story short, on a road trip doing 70-75mph over the range of the tri-motor (500mi), the drag from the mirrors consumed I think about 5(kwh). I can't remember if that was for them combined or just one.
Either way, I do remember realizing what a 'drag' side mirrors can be on range especially for EVs. So I hope they allow them by production time.
 

drcarric2650

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It would be interesting if the 500mi range is based on the CT not having side mirrors? Perhaps that's where the 500+ comes in.
 

KrodEKid

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I'm actually concerned about screens being used for driving in vehicles from a vision safety stand point.

Anyone who is over 50 or uses some sort of bifocal may understand.

Currently to be safe, drivers only need to be corrected for distance to see. Looking out the windshield, looking at objects through mirrors are all effectively optical infinity. Looking at the dash or screens requires about 1.00 diopter of focusing. Not an issues for those who have good focusing, but everybody loses this ability in 50s - 60s. It can be corrected with a progressive addition lens so this can help those who need it, but there is a portion of the population that cannot adapt to wearing these so tell them they have to use them to look into screens to see blind spots? Yikes! Fortunately other safety features will progress with this technology like collision avoidance.

But one last concern. The rear view mirror is also a screen but it is up high. Most traditional available now have "near" vision at the bottom of the glasses. The rear view mirror will likely be about arms reach away. To make this distance clear with bifocals or progressives you would have to tilt your head way or lift your glasses to get the screen in focus. Either way. This will not be a safe way to use rear view mirror. Some of you who wear glasses may have this problem at the computer so you may know what I mean.

I'm all for reduced drag and the better visibility screens could offer but all cases need to be considered when mass production and public safety is concerned. Anyone else concerned about this?
 

pagesix1536

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I'm all for reduced drag and the better visibility screens could offer but all cases need to be considered when mass production and public safety is concerned. Anyone else concerned about this?
Sounds like a new design in glasses needs to be engineered. Maybe something more high-tech and "active" rather than the passive stuff we've had since the beginning of time.
 

KrodEKid

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Sounds like a new design in glasses needs to be engineered. Maybe something more high-tech and "active" rather than the passive stuff we've had since the beginning of time.
Don't want to get too much more in the weeds about this and high jack the thread, but yes active correction would be cool and researchers are trying to make a viable option but the implications and engineering to make this happen are quite complex. For example, I have difficulty getting my cell phone camera to know what to focus on sometimes and it is much heavier and smarter than a pair of glasses. When it's you're vision it can't be right just most of the time and not be super annoying.

Second point, multifocal contact lenses are a great option for some in this case but not all can or want to wear CL.

Third point. Making a complex system to solve a problem is the least desirable route to take. An elegant solution can find a simpler way to solve to problem. For instance, instead of trying to make dynamic focusing glasses why not have a holographic type projection lens similar to Google Glass that shows the information you need instead of having to any screens at all. ...similar tech has already been put out but you can see how well that did. It's not quite there yet either.
 

ÆCIII

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I have mixed feelings. Slight refocusing delays aside, I do think the camera views would be fine for most situations and the CT design gives no choice really for the inside rear view. But the larger extended side mirrors sometimes seen on traditional trucks does come to mind, as they are extended out for a functional reason mainly to assure views around to the back corners of trailers while backing and driving on highways, etc. Many aftermarket truck side mirrors have elements for both wide angle and standard views giving drivers a choice. For many trailers there might not be a good camera substitute to match this functionality, unless Tesla could make the side cameras extend outward somehow optionally when towing a trailer. They might even need a 'dual-camera' assembly to have both near and wide angle views. I also sometimes appreciate the clearance from the vehicle that the side mirrors inherently provide. I also think it would be cool if they had some kind of extendable/foldable side mirror that would totally conceal into the CT body if desired, but that would be likely expensive for initial designs and implementation. Either way, I think this is one of the tougher decisions NHTSA and DOT is having to make.
While there has been a few good ideas and points made in this discussion, I'll add a couple other things. I do think view augmentation cameras on trailers is a good idea, but you can't just ignore all the existing trailers previously manufactured or already being towed on the road. But if Tesla is thinking about that they will include such connectivity for those likely in a trailer umbilical connector design, or develop a wireless solution that could be portable to many existing trailers (notwithstanding security concerns). Tesla could easily integrate such cameras in their User Interface nicely, and likely they've been thinking along these lines while developing the Semi.

I'll note and remind here, that one of the Semi prototypes does (or at least did have) cameras instead of side mirrors, but they were on small 'Wings' (mounted to extend the cameras out a little) to assure the view coverage to the far back 'corners' of trailers. Because trailers can vary in width, something similar would likely be necessary on the Cybertruck if cameras are implemented as a side mirror replacement. The current lower side cameras in the CT are in the back of the front fender flare trim, so likely the rear fender flare trims would likely block some of the view from those cameras. Even if not, it's simply better to have the additional view angle toward the rear with a camera or mirror vantage point from an extended outward location at the proper height.

For aerodynamics concerns, I'm not sure what the range impact difference of extended wing cameras (or side mirrors) would be, but I don't see it being a major difference. The F-150 Lightening obviously has a lot more major aerodynamic drag than the CT with it's traditional truck body, but they are still getting Model 3 comparable range out of it apparently. So if the F-150 Lightening gets that kind of range against that sort of aerodynamic drag, the raw F150 electric drive train and battery pack must be doing fairly well. Ford doesn't seem to be as concerned about aerodynamic drag, as they have substantial side mirrors as well as a large vertical front face in their grill design:

1622119430595.png


So ultimately I think there needs to be some thorough range testing done on the CT both with and without side mirrors (or camera wings), and have those results published so we can all know the real percentage of drag impact from side mirrors or camera wings. We need to know what actual range impact differences we are really discussing. Meanwhile I think that a retractable, foldable, or some kind of telescoping mount for either might be a valid option, because while reduced drag is a real benefit to range, safety and convenience benefits of a better viewing angle toward the rear are also very real, when backing or towing a trailer.

I'm starting to think an interface point or connector for 'removable' camera wings or mirrors could also be an idea to implement, for those who are super concerned about the aerodynamics and appearance. One could simply snap in the camera wing or mirror whenever they tow a trailer or whenever they feel like it, or take them off if not desired or needed during a road trip for range. But that's likely a completely new category of safety options for NHTSA to consider.
 
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