FMCSA okays limited use of rearview camera as mirror alternative

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is inching forward with efforts to replace large truck side mirrors with a high-resolution – and more aerodynamic – rearview camera system.

The FMCSA closed 2018 by granting Stoneridge a five-year exemption allowing trucks to use the company’s multi-camera angle MirrorEye system as an alternative to conventional rear-vision mirrors.

Third-party and real-world testing have shown that MirrorEye-equipped vehicles can expect up to 2.5 percent fuel economy improvements as a result of the loss of aerodynamic drag. 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.

Stoneridge President and CEO says the exemption helps bring an innovative driver-vision technology to market while improving safety and fuel economy.

“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,” he says.

According to a note posted to the Federal Register, the FMCSA agrees.

“… the Stoneridge MirrorEye [Camera Monitor System] installed as an alternative to the two rear-vision mirrors required by the FMCSRs is likely to achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level of safety provided by the regulation,” the agency wrote.

Independent video processing of multiple camera images ensures that in the event of an individual camera failure, the other camera images continue to be displayed. High-definition digital cameras provide color night vision, low light sensitivity, glare reduction and trailer panning capabilities. The Camera Monitor System automatically tracks the end of the trailer to keep it in view while the vehicle is moving forward, potentially eliminating right-hand turn collisions with motorists and pedestrians.

Fleets including Maverick Transportation, J.B. Hunt and Schneider National, have provided vehicles, test drivers and feedback during a more than 2 million mile evaluation period and trial participants noted that they felt safer using the MirrorEye system.

“MirrorEye technology was designed and improved based on real input from commercial vehicles drivers during testing,” says Stephen Fox, Vice President of Business Development, Stoneridge. “We have collected a tremendous amount of data and challenged the system in real-life scenarios. We are fully confident MirrorEye CMS will provide exceptional reliability and resolve many of the safety issues commercial vehicle drivers currently face.”