MirrorEye In Local Public Transport: A Safety Boost for Everyone 11 March 2020
It's Monday morning and we are at a bus depot near Nordhausen in the southern foothills of the Harz mountains. Here we meet Thomas Fricke, a bus driver who has worked for local transportation company Verkehrsbetriebe Nordhausen for 20 years. He's about to start his shift. What makes his day a little bit more special is that for the last six months he has regularly been driving a bus, on a scheduled route, that is fitted with the MirrorEye camera system. Today is no exception.
"It took a while to get into the habit of using the monitors instead of the mirrors," says Fricke. For regulatory reasons, it has not yet been possible to remove the conventional mirrors. "If that were not the case, it wouldn't take long at all to get used to looking only at the monitors."
Training with a 270-Degree Camera
We are also joined by Dietmar Zänker, Area Manager of the Berufsbildungszentrum Nordhausen (BBZ Nordhausen) vocational training center. Just like Verkehrsbetriebe Nordhausen, it is a public company. The nearby autodrome is where drivers—primarily professional truck drivers—receive training, advanced training and safety training.
A training and driving school truck is used for some aspects of the driver training. For six years now, this truck has been fitted with the 270-degree CornerEye camera and a reversing camera from Stoneridge-Orlaco. "The all-round view provided by the camera and displayed on the monitor is perfect, absolutely amazing! Blind spots are practically non-existent now," enthuses Zänker.
No More Blind Spots
For both Thomas Fricke and Dietmar Zänker, the biggest benefit of the camera system is increased road safety — particularly when situations are acutely dangerous. They are both equally impressed by the sense of safety and reassurance that you feel as soon as you get behind the wheel, and Fricke agrees with Zänker: "The field of vision is simply bigger than with a mirror. The blind spot almost disappears!"— and this is what gives drivers that feeling of safety.
Clearly Improved View
Once it is permitted to remove the large external mirrors, this will bring another significant boost to safety. The fittings in the A-pillar area obstruct the view when maneuvering; this can be especially dangerous for people in the vicinity of the vehicle. Thomas Fricke is keen to start enjoying this benefit, and feels certain that: "Once these cumbersome things have been removed, the view will be completely different, when navigating traffic circles for instance. At the moment the view is very limited and I often don't see vehicles until quite late when I'm on a traffic circle, because they are hidden by the mirror!"
The younger drivers who Dietmar Zänker encounters in the autodrome think the camera and monitor system is "cool." Not only are they used to screens because they use smartphones and tablets a lot, but it also takes them a lot less time to get used to the system than drivers who have been driving with the aid of mirrors for years.
The Benefits of Mirroreye Are Compelling
All in all, neither Thomas Fricke nor Dietmar Zänker would want to be without this system now, and they would recommend it to their supervisors for installation in all vehicles. The significantly larger field of vision, the elimination of blind spots, the improved view at dusk and at night — all points in favor of investing in MirrorEye. "If the system helps us to avoid even single accident, the investment will be worth it!" says Dietmar Zänker.
Thomas Fricke takes his seat behind the wheel to begin his shift. He gives a smile and a wave as he drives out of the yard, safe in the knowledge that he won't be surprised by anyone in his blind spot while driving this bus.