Stereoscopic Programmable Automotive Headlights for Improved Safety on the Road

Source Organization:
University:Carnegie Mellon University
Principal Investigator:Srinivasa Narasimhan and Robert Tamburo
PI Contact,
Project Manager:Courtney Ehrlichman
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization):$80,000
Total Dollars:
Agency ID/Contract/Grant Number:
Start and End Dates:January 2016 - January 2017
Project Status:Active
Subject Categories:In-Vehicle Technologies
Abstract:Annual crash statistics continue to reveal the disturbing trend that driving at night is very dangerous despite nearly a century of automotive headlight development. Even with recent advances in adaptive headlight technology, a majority of accidents occur at night when there isless traffic on the road [1]. Our programmable headlight overcomes some of their functional and performance limitations by being versatile, i.e., capable of being programmed to perform many different types of tasks to increase safety for all drivers on the road [2]. With previous support from the T-SET UTC, we have developed a single headlight prototype capable of operating at highway speeds. We have also developed several application algorithms and demonstrated them on the road. The goal of the proposed research is to design and develop a stereoscopic programmable headlight. The addition of a second headlight will enable the use of 3D computer vision methods. More accurate algorithms for anti-glare high beams, seeing through rain and snow, and obstacle spotlighting will be developed. Algorithms for new applications such as dynamic beam forming and scene reconstruction will also be developed. We will build a prototype and develop software for the stereoscopic headlight system. All algorithms developed will be demonstrated on the prototype. For the duration of the award period, a custom embedded solution will be developed to reduce the cost, size, and energy consumption of the headlight.
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented):
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated):The U.S. National Highway Safety Administration reports that more than half of the vehicle crashes and fatalities occur at night despite significantly less traffic during those. In many scenarios, for example,dark and narrow rural roads, bright headlights are required to safely see the driving environment (e.g., edge of the road, wildlife, pedestrians, etc.) especially when traveling at high speeds. Unfortunately, bright headlights also cause significant glare to other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians on the road. During rain and snowstorms, they also cause distracting bright flickering streaks. Thus, a headlight that adaptively illuminates the road environment without causing distractions would be expected to improve driver visibility and safety at night and during poor visibility conditions.
Project URL: