Citing it as a way to improve aerodynamics and gain more flexibility in new technologies Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is asking the U.S. government to revise federal regulations to allow manufacturers to replace truck side-mounted rear view mirrors with camera-monitor systems (CMS).
Daimler argues that modern camera-based systems can do the same job as rearview mirrors, if not better, and the change would allow truck makers to avoid the aerodynamic drag that comes sizeable mirror hanging on each side of the tractor.
In its petition to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the company requested a revision to U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS), number 111 – which requires rear view mirrors on each side of heavy-duty trucks – so that “manufacturers like DTNA to optimize vehicles for fuel efficiency.”
“DTNA strongly believes that CMS technology can achieve the same or better level of safety as outside rearview mirrors in providing the driver a view to the rear along both sides of the vehicle, but with enhanced environmental benefits, especially for large trucks,” the company said in the petition. “Camera systems can eliminate blind spots and furnish an unimpeded view in all directions, encompassing multiple lanes.”
As reported by Today’s Trucking, DTNA argues the exiting requirement for rear view mirrors hinders improving truck fuel efficiency because it is not legally able to put CMS on trucks in the U.S.
David Giroux, spokesman for DTNA, told Today’s Trucking, in this case the law has not caught up with technological reality, and the mirror requirement as a safety measure, should actually be an option.
“By changing the regulations to eliminate required exterior mirrors when replaced by tiny cameras, optimal visibility would be achieved and fuel efficiency of new trucks hitting North American roads could be improved by up to 1.5%,” he said.
In the petition, DTNA said CMS also have additional advantages over rear view mirrors including they do not have to be adjusted for different drivers while some CMS have swivel technology that automatically adjusts the camera angle as the tractor trailer turns to provide the driver better visual coverage that is unobstructed by trailers during turns, among other benefits.
In March, DTNA unveiled its futuristic Freightliner SuperTruck at the Mid-America Trucking Show in which it announced it had achieved fuel economy of 12.2 miles per gallon during testing, in the federally funded program to develop more efficient Class 8 trucks.
However, Daimler officials said it had to keep certain components on the SuperTruck, such as rearview mirrors, because of federal regulations, even though they hurt efforts improve fuel efficiency.