Today on roads across the United States, a growing number of non-commercial drivers have cars that come equipped with cameras to assist the driver. These cameras make it easier to back into a parking spot, parallel park, or even provide a 360-degree bird’s eye view of the car to enhance safety. We may soon see these cameras hitting the mainstream of commercial trucking too.
Maverick Transportation and Schneider, two commercial fleets, have begun rolling out MirrorEye technology to select truck drivers in order to test the technology. MirrorEye replaces traditional side mirrors with cameras mounted on the side of the truck, and have received favorable reviews in their limited application so far. Drivers say that the MirrorEye technology offers better visibility at night and during inclement weather. Another reported benefit is the cameras’ ability to pan out during turns, which prevents blind spots that often can lead to a truck ending up crashing into road-side objects or even going off into ditches or embankments.
Despite these advantages, there are some clear safety concerns which will need to be addressed before this technology can be implemented in fleets across the country. In particular, there are concerns about what drivers are to do should the cameras fail either due to a collision or software issues. James Burg, president of James Burg Trucking Co., says that the skill set required to fix such advanced technology may be beyond the ability of many maintenance technicians who typically perform road-side work. To counter this, MirrorEye comes equipped with a back-up camera on each side of the truck that can compensate should the other encounter any issues. Proponents of the technology maintain that they do not foresee issues with reliability, and that the cameras are capable of running for hundreds of thousands of miles without issue.
MirrorEye offers numerous advantages for commercial drivers, but it is imperative that the technology is tested properly to ensure its safety. We will be keeping an eye on these developments moving forward, and in particular, how they relate to the safety of other drivers on the road.
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