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Smart headlights will see ‘through’ rain
U.S. researchers say a new “smart” headlight design will help drivers in rainy condition by constantly redirecting light to shine between raindrops.
Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh say the system, successfully demonstrated in lab tests, prevents the distracting and dangerous glare of headlight beams reflected by precipitation back toward the driver.
“If you’re driving in a thunderstorm, the smart headlights will make it seem like it’s a drizzle,” robotics Professor Srinivasa Narasimhan said.
The system uses a camera to track the motion of raindrops or snowflakes and then applies a computer algorithm to predict where those particles will be just a few milliseconds later and adjusts to deactivate light beams that would otherwise illuminate the particles in their predicted positions.
Eventual road-worthy systems likely would be based on arrays of LED light sources in which individual elements could be turned on or off, depending on the location of raindrops, researchers said.
A failure in the system’s computer would not present a danger, researchers said.
“One good thing is that the system will not fail in a catastrophic way,” Narasimhan said. “If it fails, it is just a normal headlight.”
Copyright 2012 by United Press International