Trucks without mirrors could soon become a reality, trucking industry manufacturers predict.
So-called “mirrorless trucks” are already out on the highways being tested, and the camera technology being used could replace mirrors in the very near future, leaving drivers turning to video displays rather than physical mirrors, reports Freightwaves.
The impact this will have on insurance premiums is unknown. Several commenters at the recent unveiling of the Nikola Motor hydrogen-electric truck, which is designed without mirrors, noted that it will take some time for insurers to weigh in because there isn’t enough safety data available yet for them to quantify the value.
“There are no external mirrors,” Jason Roycht, vice president of commercial vehicles for Bosch, which supplies the camera system for the Nikola truck, told Freightwaves at the event. “We like this from an aerodynamic perspective; we like it from a safety perspective.”
The Bosch system removes sunlight reflection and allows for night enhancement, both of which improve overall visibility, Roycht said. “There is so much innovation [possible] around these cameras,” Trevor Milton, Nikola Motor co-founder and CEO, added.
Bosch isn’t the only company working on camera systems designed to replace mirrors. Stoneridge was one of the early supporters of this technology with its MirrorEye system.
“We remain well-positioned to commercialize MirrorEye in the retrofit market with broader rollouts with our freight partners expected in the second and third quarters of this year,” Jon DeGaynor, president and CEO of Stoneridge, said during his company’s second quarter earnings in May. “Additionally, we are expecting an OEM [original equipment manufacturer] sourcing decision to be made in the second quarter with two more made by the end of the year or early next year. We remain optimistic related to our OEM pursuits and will provide updates as decisions are made.”
Earlier this year, at the Technology & Maintenance Council meeting in Atlanta, the organization’s Cab & Control Study group asked for industry input from fleets and drivers using these systems.
Current law requires two outside mirrors that show the driver both sides of the commercial truck. As most drivers know, though, that leaves blindspots, which the manufacturers of these camera systems believe can be eliminated.