FMCSA moves to exempt mirrorless truck from federal regulations

 Stoneridge's MirrorEye system features two cameras mounted at the top of the doors on either side of the vehicle.

Stoneridge's MirrorEye system features two cameras mounted at the top of the doors on either side of the vehicle.

The FMCSA has formally moved to exempt the MirrorEye Camera Monitor System (CMS) from Stoneridge from federal regulations as the company seeks to begin on-road testing of the system on vehicles without side mirrors.

The Agency published today in the Federal Register an exemption request from Stoneridge that would allow the MirrorEye to serve as a substitute for regulations requiring two rear-vision mirrors, one on each side of the vehicle, as required by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).

Stoneridge believes the system meets the requirements under National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s standards which are cross-referenced by the FMCSRs and “would maintain a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption because CMS meets or exceeds the performance requirements for traditional mirrors.”

The Federal Register notice opens a 30-day window for comments before FMCSA rules on the exemption request.

“The MirrorEye CMS consists of multiple digital cameras mounted on the exterior of the CMV and enclosed in an aerodynamic package that provides both environmental protection for the cameras and a mounting location for optimal visibility. Each camera has video processing software that presents a clear, high-definition image to the driver by means of a monitor mounted to each A-pillar of the CMV, i.e., the structural member between the windshield and door of the cab. The company explains that attaching the monitors to the Apillars avoids the creation of incremental blind spots while eliminating the blind spots associated with conventional mirrors,” the exemption request noted.

In the Federal Register notice, Stoneridge states the following safety factors its MirrorEye provides:

  • Greater field of view (FOV) than conventional mirrors – Mirrors are replaced by wide angle, narrow angle and look-down cameras expanding the FOV by an estimated 25%.
  • Fail-safe design – The CMS has independent video processing of multiple camera images so that in the unlikely event of an individual camera failure, the other camera images continue to be displayed. This ensures that real-time images are continuously displayed without interruption.
  • Augmented and enhanced vision quality – The use of high-definition digital cameras provides for color night vision, low light sensitivity and trailer panning capabilities. This assists with night driving, operating under other low lighting conditions, and provides for glare reduction.
  • Trailer panning – The CMS automatically tracks the end of the trailer to keep it in view while the vehicle is moving forward. Stoneridge believes this feature could eliminate collisions associated with the CMV driver making a right-hand turn, and incidents where the CMV strikes a pedestrian or bicyclist while making right hand turns.

“Stoneridge also believes use of its CMS may help to reduce driver fatigue by requiring less head movement by drivers compared to the number of head movement needed to use conventional mirrors,” the company said.

In an earlier interview with FreightWaves, Stoneridge officials said the system could also lead to reduced fuel savings. Removing the mirrors provides a 2-3% fuel savings, they said.

The MirrorEye system features a 12.3-in. high definition display on the driver’s left and a 15-in. display on their right. In the middle top of the window is another display, giving the driver complete visibility from 5-6 cameras mounted on the vehicle.

The displays show blind spots as well as the entire length of the trailer in full color and cameras, which are heated for easy defrosting, are shielded from the weather to ensure a clear view.

Schneider National, J.B. Hunt and Maverick Transportation are all said to be testing the system.

As a truck turns, the cameras pan so the driver continues to have full visibility. The system also features an advanced image handling system that adjusts visibility in direct sunlight so drivers are not blinded and can continue to see clearly.