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New digital mirrors on the way for trucks

Mar 13, 2018
A recently completed research project in Sweden has shown that digital rear-view mirrors on trucks can reduce blind spots and improve visibility.

Rear-view mirrors have not evolved a great deal since the 1960s but now things could be set to change thanks to a new solution developed for truck manufacturers by RISE, Scania and Stoneridge Electronics AB.   

Scania Vehicle Ergonomist Hanna Staf and technicians from Stoneridge Electronics, along with Azra Habibovic, Project Leader at the Swedish research institute RISE Viktoria, have created a digital rear-view mirror system prototype that represents a clear step forward. The prototype includes cameras mounted near the upper front corners of the exterior of the driver’s cab, which display the view to the rear in real time.  

Driver’s direct vision improved 

By replacing conventional rear-view mirrors with digital ones, the driver’s direct vision is improved. “Traditional rear-view mirrors typically block a driver's field of vision. By replacing them with digital systems it enables drivers to detect pedestrians and cyclists much easier – a typical problem at urban intersections and roundabouts,” said Azra Habibovic.  

The prototype provides a larger field of view and reduces blind spots, making the driver more aware of potential hazards around their truck. Azra continued, “The automatic panning of the main view is especially useful for following the trailer end when turning or reversing. It eliminates the need for body and head movements to increase the field of view, which is usually the case when using conventional mirrors.”  

Better visibility when door windows are dirty 

Another advantage is that the prototype provides better visibility when door windows are dirty. During adverse weather conditions, it can be a challenge for truck drivers to spot objects in conventional mirrors.  

In addition to safety, the digital rear-view system offers reduced air-drag, and enhanced night-time viewing is also possible through an inbuilt infra-red system.  “Replacing conventional mirrors with digital systems creates a unique opportunity to improve drivers’ visibility and night vision,” said Scania’s Hanna Staf. “This improves safety while creating a more comfortable driver environment.” 

Photo: Rear-view mirrors have not evolved a great deal since the 1960s.


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