The STM will test a cutting-edge system combining cameras and high-definition screens to replace rear-view mirrors on its buses.
Montréal, January 12, 2022 – In one of the first pilot projects of its kind in North America, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) will test a cutting-edge system combining cameras and high-definition screens to replace rear-view mirrors on its buses. In the following days, two buses equipped with the systems will begin serving customers for a one-year testing period. The equipment is expected to benefit the safety of all road users.
Road testing represents an important milestone in a process of testing, validation and fine-tuning that began before the pandemic with closed-course testing under different operating conditions. “The drivers who took part in the testing were very enthusiastic about it, and I would like to thank the union representatives for their involvement,” says Marie-Claude Léonard, Executive Director of Bus and Métro Operations at the STM. “This is a promising project that employs our teams’ innovative minds to find solutions to very real problems, while aligning with the City of Montréal’s Vision Zero principles.”
Benefits on multiple fronts
This kind of system helps reduce vehicle blind spots, increases the driver’s field of vision and improves visibility in difficult conditions (darkness, bright sunlight, tunnels, rain, snow, etc.). The pilot project is therefore likely to help improve safety for all road users while being consistent with the STM’s continuous improvement approach.
Another expected benefit is the sustainability of the system. Every day, buses have to be serviced on the road or returned to the garage because of rear-view mirrors broken due to collisions. Replacing the mirrors with these more compact and sturdier cameras should improve the quality of service, by maintaining buses on the road longer. The STM will also evaluate if the transition to rear-view cameras could lead to long-term savings, based on the new system’s expected life span.
The camera display screens are located on the pillars to the left and right of the driver’s compartment, allowing drivers to maintain their visual scanning habits at the wheel. This makes it easier to transition from buses with regular rear-view mirrors to ones with cameras.
For maximum efficiency, particularly in winter weather, STM teams designed an ingenious device to keep the camera lenses clean. Using the pneumatic system already present on all STM buses, it directs a jet of forced air into the camera lens to clean it. The device can be activated on demand or automatically.
Modernizing the surface network
As part of the pilot project, the STM will assess the system in terms of performance in various conditions, robustness, reliability and driver satisfaction. The results of these tests will help the STM decide whether to equip the rest of its current and future vehicles with this type of system. With the bus network electrification well underway, this marks another concrete step forward in modernizing the STM bus network!
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Credit : Julien Perron-Gagné