Smart Headlights for Driver Safety

Source Organization:
Principal Investigator:Srinivasa Narasimhan
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Total Dollars:$75000 for 2014
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Project Status:Complete
Subject Categories:Vehicles and Equipment Safety and Human Factors
Abstract:The primary goal of a vehicular headlight is to improve safety in low-light and poor weather conditions. The typical headlight however has very limited flexibility - switching between high and low beams, turning off beams toward the opposing lane or rotating the beam as the vehicle turns - and is not designed for all driving environments. Thus, despite decades of innovation in light source technology, more than half of the vehicular accidents still happen at night even with very less traffic on the road. In this project, we will develop a new design for a headlight that can be programmed to perform several tasks simultaneously and that can sense, react and adapt quickly to any environment with the goal of increasing safety for all drivers on the road. For example, we will be able to drive with high-beams without glaring any other driver and we will be able to see better during rain and snowstorms when the road is most treacherous to drive. The headlights can also increase contrast of lanes, markings and sidewalks and can alert drivers to sudden obstacles. This project will address the several engineering challenges in building this headlight and develop appropriate algorithms for the various tasks. Then, the prototypes will be deployed on vehicles and road tested to determine the safety benefits to drivers in a wide range of environmental conditions.
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