How about having this intelligent system locate the drivers of oncoming vehicles and not shine light directly into their faces? Same thing for cars being followed, avoiding their rear view mirrors. If headlights were smart, we could make them brighter without blinding anybody.
> The researchers hope to cut system latency by developing faster ways of
> transferring images from the camera to the microprocessor
> running their algorithm and from that microprocessor to the headlight.
While cool, it's unfortunately an entire electronics system dedicated to the situation. The last thing I want is a frozen sensor detecting the entire road was 'rain' and shutting off my headlights.
Seems to me like this won't make it into popular use. At least not for a long time simply due to the cost of installation and upkeep.
I find that it is very rare that I find driving conditions so bad that it is a danger to drive. When I find visibility difficult I either slow down, take a safer road (easier to drive at 30 in low vis than 70) or I just stop driving.
The technology looks great. However, it will be difficult to justify the cost when the actual technology won't be in use 99% of time.
Too many factors with this system that need to be accomodated from a sudden wind gust, rain that bounces and in dense fog and lets not forget the classic one were the car infront or lorry kicks up spray. Too many dynamic variables and thats just a few from the top of my head. Love to be proven wrong, but a HUD visual enhancer system seems alot easier and safer when accomodating these many many variables.
The project is still in the academic research phase and I don't think they're quite as far as actually implementing it in a car in the wild, although they're moving ahead with it as fast as they can, so they might have actually done this recently. It won an award at the last International Conference on Computational Photography (ICCP) because it's just such a cool idea, and it seems like it might actually be feasible to some degree (even despite all the issues people have mentioned here and elsewhere). At ICCP, it was still in simulation and prototype-with-rain-machine-in-the-lab mode.
Btw I highly recommend watching the ICCP talk, available to watch from that webpage, or for download here: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~ILIM/projects/IL/smartHeadlight/media...