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Projectors Making Driving in the Rain Safer

As we all know well, our car headlights are intended to improve visibility at night by lighting up the road. The down side of this is that headlights also illuminate raindrops and snowflakes making them a major driver distraction and causing countless accidents.

Carnegie Mellon researchers are working to make driving in the elements much safer and have developed a prototype system using a projector, camera, and 50/50 beamsplitter. The camera images the precipitation at the top of the field of view. When a raindrop falls into the top of this field, it is illuminated by the projector and its image is picked up by the camera.

The high-speed projector's job is to track each raindrop and predict its direction. Using this data, the headlight's beams are then automatically turned off at a speed undetectable to the driver and remain off until the raindrop is no longer a threat.

Not to be negative, but the sheer mathematical calculations necessary to make this technology work would likely come at a hefty price tag. I bet we'll see this used in the aviation industry first and long after it will be in very high end luxury cars.