Why drones need rear-view mirrors

In February 2020, the American company Nuro became the first to achieve the abolition of two regulatory restrictions that made life difficult for the developers of self-driving cars in the United States. We are talking about the old, but still relevant requirement to be sure to install side mirrors on ground vehicles. In addition, such cars must have a hard windshield and not show the driver information from the rear view cameras when driving forward.

The need for a hard windshield is dictated by caring for the passengers of the vehicle, in a broader sense - about the living people inside. This is done so that they do not suffer from dust and wind and can be inside without helmets. Rearview mirrors are a driver's concern and the same goes for rear cameras. The person behind the wheel must choose where to get the information from, he cannot be overloaded with data. But we are talking about a human driver, which by definition is not in the drone.

As practice has shown, the bureaucracy was not ready to quickly adapt to the changes in the industry and the certification of drones for public roads is carried out according to the general rules for cars with a driver. This is not just a paradox or contradiction, but a dangerous brake. Nuro makes this argument - when they got rid of the side mirrors, they made the outer surface of the drone completely round and smooth. That is, there are no ledges potentially dangerous for pedestrians left in it.

Moreover, the abandonment of a rigid windshield for the cargo version of the drone allowed it to add a shock-absorbing mechanism. Instead of glass, there is a soft plastic fairing that falls inward on impact, extinguishing destructive energy. As for the navigation aids, the turret on the roof contains a lidar, radar and a set of cameras with a 360-degree view, which do not need any mirrors. The autonomous car industry is in desperate need of legislative reforms, and hopefully they won't be slow to emerge.