When it comes to headlight technology, not a lot has changed in the past few decades. We were due for an upgrade, as we eagerly introduce the “smart headlight.”
Earlier this year, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University released a new system of headlight illuminating that will forever change the driving experience for rain-experiencing drivers.
As Atlanta drivers can attest, the road isn’t the only thing headlights illuminate during torrential downpour. Drops of water reflect light back on the driver, making visibility especially difficult. This is a problem that Professor Srinivasa Narasimhan and his team at Carnegie Mellon University are working to solve.
By pairing a video camera with a digital light projector and “beam-splitter,” Carnegie Mellon’s system identifies a raindrop as it falls into the headlight’s view. An on-board computer calculates the drop’s trajectory and selectively turns off the bank of lights in the pain of the rain.
One would think this must be something with an instantaneous turnaround, right? Correct! It all happens in 13 milliseconds! The process of detecting and terminating light happens so quickly in fact, that there is no obvious flicker to either the driver or oncoming traffic.
The downsides include the inability to illuminate quite as far as the standard lamp and accuracy. As speed increases, the system is less able to detect particles.
Nonetheless, 2012 has been a big year when it comes to the advancement of vehicle technology. Our Atlanta car insurance problem solvers and risk managers welcome improvements that lead to less risks and accidents for our drivers!
Source: LAVRINC, DAMON. “I Can See Clearly Now: Smart Headlights Dodge Rain, Snow.” Wired.com. Conde Nast Digital, 04 July 0012. Web. 25 Sept. 2012. <http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/07/smart-headlights-dodge-rain/>.