The evolution of technology in the world of trucking took another step forward at the close of 2018. Companies like Stoneridge, Inc are focusing on new ways to improve driver safety and fuel efficiency by increasing driver vision through the use of Camera Monitoring Systems (CMS). According to the Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has granted Stoneridge a five-year exemption from federal law requiring conventional rear-vision mirrors to allow trucks to use their multi-camera angle MirrorEye system as a replacement to standard rear-vision side mirrors.
Third-Party and real-world testing has shown that the MirrorEye system can increase fuel economy by 2.5% due to eliminating extra aerodynamic drag from side mirrors. In addition to the fuel economy improvements, “the camera system provides drivers with three views- a wide angle, narrow angle and passenger-side “look-down” camera- expanding the driver’s field of view and eliminate blind spots.” There are concerns about what will happen if a camera breaks or fails, but Stoneridge has addressed the potential issue with “independent video processing of multiple camera images.” If one specific camera fails, the remaining cameras will still be able to process the necessary images and won’t prohibit the driver from being able to see their surroundings. The cameras are high definition, use color night vision, have low light sensitivity and glare reduction to improve the overall vision of the driver.
Real-world testing is still the most crucial part to making the MirrorEye system a mainstream reality. National fleets such as Maverick Transportation, J.B. Hunt and Schneider National have participated in trial runs of the MirrorEye system. Participating drivers said that they felt safer using the MirrorEye system as opposed to traditional side mirrors. While there is still a significant amount of necessary testing, it would certainly appear that side mirrors will eventually be phased out for the safer, more efficient Camera Monitor System.