ANYONE having driven a ‘panel’ van will know the limitations of relying entirely on side mirrors, especially in urban driving.
Cyclists squeezing in alongside the vehicle, tailgaters, pedestrians standing at the rear trying to cross the road… They’re often invisible to a driver when you have solid rear doors and only side mirrors. But if it all goes wrong and there’s an accident, then the blame often falls solidly on the driver.
Ford has come up with a solution to this problem and they call it a ‘Smart Mirror’. It is a high-definition screen in a traditional looking rear-view mirror that displays a panoramic view from a rear-door mounted camera.
The mirror, which will cost close to £675, is available for Ford Transit and Transit Custom vans fitted with windowless rear doors. Any Ford dealer can order and fit the system, which is compatible with Transit vans built from 2014 and Transit Custom models built from 2012.
Door with a view
‘Smart Mirror’ increases driver confidence and is a key part of making journeys safer
The display shows a live feed from a camera on the rear of the van and features automatic brightness control for optimum visibility in daylight and at night. The system offers a field of view that is twice the width of a conventional rear-view mirror. This helps drivers to be more aware of their surroundings, for example, when approaching roundabouts, changing lanes or checking before merging or turning into side streets.
“Providing our drivers with maximum visibility – especially in urban areas where there is so much to look out for – increases their confidence and is a key part of making journeys safer for them, and for other road users as well”, said Owen Gregory, director, Commercial Vehicle Aftersales, Ford of Europe.
Ford’s new mirror could be particularly beneficial for delivery drivers making frequent drop-offs in cities, where they are more likely to encounter those on bikes, e-scooters or on foot; vulnerable road users accounted for 70 per cent of road accident fatalities in Europe’s urban areas in 2019, according to European Commission data.
Fitting the system should also improve operational uptime by reducing the need for costly accident damage repairs. This is especially pertinent to SME fleets where the temporary loss of a vehicle can have a major impact on income.
Ford last week announced FORDLiive – a new connected uptime system designed to help maximise vehicle uptime.
Watch A Video Of The New Ford Smart Mirror
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