Infrared eye lets drivers see into the night

日期:2017-06-10 02:02:23 作者:牛浣 阅读:

By Duncan Graham-Rowe OVERDOSING on carrots is not the only way to see in the dark. The car manufacturer General Motors has developed a thermal night imaging system for one of its Cadillac models that allows drivers to see up to five times as far at night than they can using their car’s headlights alone. This should give drivers much more time to respond to possible dangers on the road ahead, such as wandering deer, a cyclist with no lights or someone changing a tyre at the roadside. The new system, called Night Vision, uses infrared imaging technology similar to that used by the military and emergency services. The image is captured by a robust infrared camera mounted directly behind the car’s front grille. This gives an unobstructed view of the road ahead while protecting the camera from pieces of flying debris. The camera produces a monochrome picture, in which warm objects are white and cold objects are black, on a small liquid-crystal screen on the dashboard. A specially shaped mirror then projects the image directly onto the windshield. “This mirror compensates for the curvature of the windshield, so the image is not distorted when viewed by the driver,” explains Richard Seoane, a systems engineer at Raytheon, the company that designed the system for GM. The image of the road ahead is projected onto the lower part of the windshield, where it appears to float in space, just below the driver’s normal field of view. Because the display is focused in the far distance, the driver can glance at it without refocusing his or her eyes. This is crucial to the success of the system, says Seoane. The position of the image can be adjusted to suit the driver’s height. Night Vision greatly extends a driver’s vision. While typical headlights illuminate the road up to around 100 metres ahead,