The new year kicks off with a step forward into the future for trucking. Rear-view camera developer Stoneridge announced that its exemption application to federal law was approved in late December by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The decision will allow the company’s MirrorEye Camera Monitor System to be installed as an alternative to the conventional rear-view mirrors currently required on commercial motor vehicles in the United States. The exemption applies solely to Stoneridge's MirrorEye system, according to the company, making it the only such camera system that allows for complete removal of traditional mirrors in the United States.
Previously, federal regulations banning the use of rear-view camera systems in the place of conventional mirrors was widely cited as a stumbling block holding back their deployment in real-world fleet and trucking operations.
According to Stoneridge, its MirrorEye CMS meets or exceeds the visibility requirements of conventional mirrors by providing enhanced vision benefits:
- Greater field of view and elimination of common blind spots: Three views, including wide angle, narrow angle and passenger-side "look-down" cameras, greatly expand the driver's field of view and eliminate blind spots.
- Fail-safe design: Independent video processing of multiple camera images ensures that in the unlikely event of an individual camera failure, the other camera images continue to be displayed. Real-time images are continuously displayed without interruption.
- Augmented and enhanced vision quality: High-definition digital cameras provide color night vision, low light sensitivity, glare reduction and trailer panning capabilities.
- Trailer panning tracks the end of the trailer: The sysetm automatically tracks the end of the trailer to keep it in view while the vehicle is moving forward. This feature could eliminate right-hand turn collisions with motorists and pedestrians, says the company.
MirrorEye CMS also offers aerodynamic benefits. Third-party and real-world testing have shown that MirrorEye-equipped vehicles can expect up to 2.5% fuel economy improvements, according to Stoneridge.
"This decision will help bring an innovative driver vision technology to market that will greatly improve the safety of everyone who shares the road," said Jon DeGaynor, president and CEO, Stoneridge, in the announcement. "The MirrorEye Camera Monitor System empowers truck drivers to avoid potential collisions by the elimination of certain blind spots, expansion of their field of view and increased awareness of the truck's surroundings. This exemption allows our customers to fully recognize both the safety and fuel economy benefits of MirrorEye."