Wonderful Engineering

General Motors Is Developing Car Headlights That Follow Where The Driver Is Looking

The advances in science and technology have improved our everyday life beyond measure and continue to do so. The recent work by Vauxhall/Opel focuses on incorporating smart headlights that will be able to aim based on where the driver is looking. Simply put, this will be achieved by tracking the driver’s eyes.

The current technology being used by Vauxhall/Opel in context of headlights is known as Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL+). It features 9 particular lighting functions that include different lighting patterns for varying driving environments, autonomous full beam and aiming beam around corners using car’s steering as the variable.

The firm is also working on ‘LED matrix light system’. This system will monitor the light from oncoming vehicles and will actively deactivate particular LEDs in the matrix cluster to facilitate the driver in the oncoming vehicle.

According to the company, it has been working on the eye-tracking system for about two years now. Apart from being able to adjust the direction of beams, it is also capable of changing the intensity of beam.

The system uses a camera that tracks conspicuous points on the user’s face – the nose and eyes – thus enabling it to ascertain the line of sight. Apart from the camera, infra-red sensors and central photo-diodes are also used which allow the system to scan user’s eyes more than 50 times per second in night and dusk-time conditions.

The company revealed that a lot of work was required to optimize the system for a smooth flow of things. Early tests depicted that the calculation of data along with recording rate of the camera was too slow and subsequently resulted in a lagged response. However, once these problems were tackled, the system was able to respond instantaneously in vertical and horizontal planes.

An algorithm has been incorporated into the system that caters for the eyes darting around and subsequent erratic movement of beams. The algorithm basically delays the response and ensures that the beam moves in a smooth way. The system will work with any driver without the need for calibration.

As of now, it is primarily a research project that might turn up in market in the long run. The LED matrix light system shall be introduced in 1.5 years though. Pretty cool, isn’t it?