January 11, 2009 Though only 10% of road miles are driven at night, those miles account for half all road fatalities. Using public roads is a sight response game you play with your own and others’ lives, so being able to improve your night vision will clearly increase safety for everyone. We’ve written about the coming of Mercedes' NightVision Assist for several years now – the system is based around a thermal night vision camera which sees heat, not light, and hence enables you to see the things that count, well beyond the range of the headlights. FLIR is the company Mercedes partnered with on the project and it has now released the PathFindIR system as an aftermarket accessory for cars and motorcycles.
Most cars and motorcycles these days can outrun their headlights – that is, they can go fast enough to have a stopping distance which is further than you can see at night. The PathFindIR system lets you see four times farther than you can with headlights, particularly in dusty or foggy conditions. The PathFindIR is able to see pedestrians from over 1,000’ away and vehicles even farther.
The PathFindIR thermal imager uses the same technology FLIR offers to military agencies to see at night. It features a 36 deg field-of-view lens, which provides excellent roadside awareness, even at long range. This gives you a better chance of seeing animals and pedestrians approaching the roadway before they become a danger.
PathFindIR is easy to install in your car, truck, motorcycle or SUV and features the same imaging core as the BMW system, which costs US$2200 as an option on high end Beemers. No pricing as yet.