Washington: US researchers, who include an Indian-origin scientist, have developed a smart head-light that enables drivers to take full advantage of their high beams without fear of blinding oncoming drivers or suffering from the glare that they can be subject to when driving in snow or rain at night.
The programmable head-light senses and tracks virtually any number of oncoming drivers, blacking out only the small parts of the head-light beam that would otherwise shine into their eyes.
"With our programmable system, we can actually make head-lights that are even brighter than today's without causing distractions for other drivers on the road," said Srinivasa Narasimhan, an associate professor of robotics at the Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute.
During snow or rain showers, the headlight improves driver vision by tracking individual flakes and drops in the immediate vicinity of the car and blocking the narrow slivers of head-light beam that would, otherwise, illuminate the precipitation and reflect back onto the driver's eyes.
The system uses a DLP projector instead of a standard head-light or cluster of LEDs.
This enables the researchers to divide the light into a million tiny beams, each of which can be independently controlled by a computer.
"Our system can keep high beams from blinding oncoming drivers when operating at normal highway speeds," Narasimhan added.
In addition to preventing glare, the projector can be used to highlight the traffic lane - a helpful driving aid when roads have unmarked lanes or when snow obscures lane markings.
"When tied to a navigation system, the programmable head-lights also can project arrows or other directional signals to visually guide drivers," informed Robert Tamburo, the project's lead engineer.