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Millbrook 2018
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October 11 2017
By Mel Holley

Mel is the Editor at routeONE magazine. He has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Night-vision breakthrough as
digital mirrors win approval

In a major development 21st Century, displayed the first digital mirror to be homologated. It is specifically designed for the coach and bus industry.

The idea has been long-mooted and often seen in futuristic concept designs over the years.

Now, the conclusion of a four-year homologation process saw mandatory approval received just four days before Coach & Bus UK opened.

It means that the provision of digital mirrors for coaches and buses can now take place, says Director of Fleet Systems Mark Johnson.

The chief benefit is significantly improved night vision, followed by reduced vulnerability to damage compared with traditional mirrors.

Other savings come from lower wind resistance, thanks to improved vehicle aerodynamics, giving an overall return on-investment of 18 months.

Two high-definition in-cab screens on the A-pillar - positioned where a driver would look to see a mirror - give standard and blind-spot views, the same as with a traditional mirror.

Outside the vehicle, a pair of standard and wide-angle cameras sits in a housing that protrudes just 130mm from the body - reducing the risk of damage.

Heaters ensure that the camera lenses do not suffer from ice or rain.

Thanks to the low-light capability of the camera it means that at night, rather than seeing a blinding pair of headlights, the high-definition view is clearer and shows other subjects - such as cyclists or pedestrians - that cannot easily be seen in traditional mirrors in darkness.

The flip side is that in daylight - especially at the ends of the day - mirror vision with blinding low sunlight will also be greatly improved, thanks to the overall quality gain.

With homologation now complete, 21st Century is already talking with vehicle manufacturers about incorporating the digital mirrors into the A-pillars of future designs. Retrofitting will also be available.

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Millbrook 2018