Programmable Automotive Headlights

Source Organization:
University:Carnegie Mellon University
Principal Investigator:Srinivasa Narasimhan
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Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization): $75,634.00
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Project Status:Complete
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Abstract:Despite decades of innovation on light sources, more than half of accidents happen at night even with less traffic on the road [1]. With previous support from the UTC, we have developed a new 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 [2]. The headlight allows drivers to use high beams with no noticeable difference in illumination while not glaring other drivers. Driver visibility can be improved during windy snowstorms when the road is most treacherous to drive. Also, the headlight can increase contrast of lanes, markings and sidewalks and can alert drivers to sudden road obstacles. Our current system prototype has a minimum latency of 2.5 milliseconds and has been road tested at moderate speeds of 45 mph on city roads.

The goal of the proposed research is to continue development of the programmable headlight to bring it closer to deployment. Towards this goal we have identified three tasks to be completed within the next year. First, the reaction time of the prototype will be reduced to by a millisecond. Second, the physical size of the prototype will be reduced permitting installation within the headlight compartment of a vehicle (e.g., small pick-up truck). This will allow the headlight to be more securely mounted to a vehicle enabling testing in real-world conditions (e.g., on the highway). Third, system software will be optimized for speed and algorithms for several applications (reduced headlight glare, improved visibility in poor weather, obstacle awareness, and enhanced visibility of driving lane) will be further developed to improve their robustness.
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