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Key Considerations in Assessing the Safety and Performance of Camera-Based Mirror Systems

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Camera-based mirror systems (CBMSs) are a relatively new technology in the automotive industry, and much of the United States’ medium- and heavy-duty commercial fleet has been reluctant to convert from standard glass, or “west coast”, mirrors to CBMSs. CBMSs have the potential to reduce the number of truck and passenger vehicle incidents, improving overall fleet safety. CBMSs also have the potential to improve operational efficiency by improving aerodynamics and reducing drag, resulting in better fuel economy, and improving maneuverability. Improvements in overall safety are also possible; the field of view for the driver is potentially 360° with the addition of trailer cameras, allowing for visibility of the rear of the trailer and the front of the truck. These potential improvements seem promising, but the literature on driver surveys clearly shows that there is reluctance to adopt this technology for many reasons. Additionally, more robust testing in the laboratory and in the field is necessary to determine whether CBMSs are adequate to replace standard mirrors on trucks. This analysis provides an overview of key research questions for CBMS testing based on the current literature on the topic (surveys, standards, and previous testing). The purpose of this analysis is to serve as guidance in developing further testing of CBMSs, especially testing involving human subjects.