Research Project

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FAST DASH Safety Technology Evaluation Project #3: Novel Convex Mirrors

Goal

To conduct an independent evaluation of a novel set of multi-radii convex mirrors designed to increase field of view (FOV) for drivers and provide reflection similar to that found on flat mirrors.

Background

Large trucks, because of their size and design, have extensive areas around their bodies that are obscured from the driver’s direct and indirect vision. These blind spot areas have the potential to hide other road users from the drivers (due to restricted FOV), contributing to safety conflicts and crashes during maneuvers such as lane changes and merges. In fact, lane changes and merges are considered some of the riskiest maneuvers that a driver can perform on the highway, due to the high demand on the driver’s attention and vision. Conventional convex mirrors on CMVs provide indirect visibility in areas surrounding the truck and function as a means for drivers to detect and identify objects within those areas. Conventional convex mirrors are shown to substantially reduce blind spots when compared with conventional planar mirrors, but with distortion to objects via indirect visibility. This distortion narrows the horizontal dimensions of the corresponding image, and is a potential problem for drivers. The proposed novel prototype mirror is expected to reduce distortion when compared to a conventional convex mirror, while also increasing drivers’ FOV.

Summary

The third FMCSA’s Advanced System Testing utilizing a Data Acquisition System on the Highways (FAST DASH) program evaluation explored the feasibility and user acceptance of a novel mirror prototype to replace existing convex mirrors on a heavy vehicle. This was accomplished by examining the interaction between driver and object placement for FOV and distance estimations as described in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) static testing method.

Outcomes

An independent evaluation of the tested novel convex mirrors.

Milestones

October 2015: Draft final report submitted
November 2016: Final report published

Funding

FY 2014: $300,000

Current Status

Contractor

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
 
Updated: Friday, January 6, 2017
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