You’ve probably been there before, perhaps driving in the middle of a deep blizzard or in intensive rain conditions that you you can barely see a foot in front of that which can distract even the most seasoned driver (unless you can make the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs). A new smart headlight from Carnegie Mellon University could make distracting precipitation far less dangerous to drive through.
Developed by CMU Robotics Institute professor Srinivasa Narasimhan, the smart headlight contains an imaging system consisting of a projector, camera, and light beam splitter.
As precipitation falls into the camera’s field of view, a built-in sensor uses an original algorithm to predict its future location and temporarily darkens the headlight in that area accordingly. The entire detection and shading process takes only 13 milliseconds, meaning that rain, slow, and sleet barely reflect off car headlights. The driver would never see the headlight dimming for each falling drop.
Of course, many technical challenges remain. In a presentation, Narasimhan acknowledges that “wind, turbulence, and vibrations” from high speed can interfere with the smart headlight. You’ll also need a powerful projector to make it work, and obviously cramming a camera, projector and processing unit into the front of your car will be more expensive than a normal bulb. However Intel reckons we’ll see it inside new vehicles within a decade.
Watch the video from CNET below:
Is this an ingenious way of making driving safer and more comfortable? Or are you perfectly happy with your current car lamps? Let us know in the comments