Thursday, June 7, 2012
Future Headlights May Project Beams Around the Rain Drops
Carnegie Mellon researchers gave a presentation recently on a new invention that has absolutely no bearing on the collision repair industry… yet.
However, it does give an indication of just how far automotive technology may be pushed when motivated by society's desire to someday eliminate car accidents completely.
In a talk at Microsoft Research, Professor Srinivasa Narasimhan, gave a presentation in April on the progress he has made developing intelligent automobile headlights that eliminate the glare from rain and snow by directing the light "around the raindrops."
His audience laughed when he said it, too (at first).
The system works by using a camera to see individual raindrops falling from the sky. Then, using a computer algorithm to predict where each rain drop will be when it appears in front of the driver, the system turns off the portion of the headlight light that would normally have illuminated the rain drop, thus eliminating the glare.
Using a digital projector as the "headlight," rather than conventional headlights, the system is able to turn off small sections of the headlight beam that would have bounced back as glare from the raindrops, still allowing all the beams of light "between" the raindrops to pass through.
The research is intended to reduce accidents by improving visibility during inclement weather. The result is impressive. You have to see it for yourself.
Copyright 2012 CollisionWeek (www.collisionweek.com) – reprinted by permission from the publisher