Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have found a better way to prevent car drivers from getting distracted while driving during dense rainfall or snow.
Computer science professor Srinivasa Narasimhan from the university and his team have proposed a prototype headlight system that lights up the roads sufficiently, thus improving the driver's visibility and preventing him/her from getting distracted due to raindrops.
While driving, headlights of standard vehicles develop streaks of raindrops and snowflakes. The university researchers have developed a system to detect these streaks using the car's headlights that could dim the rain drops so that the driver doesn't get distracted.
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A digital projector is used to find the rays coming from the car's headlights that reflect the raindrops or snow. The projector is placed in the headlight system and a camera is placed on its side to capture the raindrops that fall in front of the car. The projector illuminates the particles and it is observed within milliseconds of time.
The computer system predicts the position of the raindrops as to when it will appear in driver's view. It sends a signal to the headlights which automatically adjusts and switches off the light rays that reflects the raindrops and allows only the beam that travels without causing any interruption to the driver, reports Technology Review which is published by the MIT.
The test showed that 70 per cent of raindrops disappeared from the driver's view while driving at a speed of 19 miles per hour (30 kilometers per hour). But only 15 to 20 per cent of rain waned while the car was moving at a speed of 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour).
As the scientists are using low-cost camera and off-the shelf components, the data transfer speed is slower and hence only a small percentage of rain water is dimmed while driving at high speeds. Using a better camera will help the system to work faster but it will increase the size and the cost of the system.
Prof Narasimhan told the Technology Review that it was very important to increase the speed of the system to reduce precipitation of rain drops while driving at high speeds.
To take a look at how the system works, click here.