Automotive

GM working on car headlights that aim where the driver's looking

GM working on car headlights t...
Vauxhall/Opel is developing a system that aims car headlights where a driver is looking
Vauxhall/Opel is developing a system that aims car headlights where a driver is looking
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Vauxhall/Opel is developing a system that aims car headlights where a driver is looking
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Vauxhall/Opel is developing a system that aims car headlights where a driver is looking
The camera in the Vauxhall/Opel eye-tracking system scans the driver’s eyes more than 50 times per second to instantaneously adjust the headlamp beam
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The camera in the Vauxhall/Opel eye-tracking system scans the driver’s eyes more than 50 times per second to instantaneously adjust the headlamp beam
Vauxhall/Opel's AFL+ lights adapt to different driving situations, road and weather conditions
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Vauxhall/Opel's AFL+ lights adapt to different driving situations, road and weather conditions
Vauxhall/Opel's LED matrix light saystem is designed to combat glare from oncoming full-beam headlights
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Vauxhall/Opel's LED matrix light saystem is designed to combat glare from oncoming full-beam headlights
Vauxhall/Opel's LED matrix light system deactivates individual LEDs so that oncoming traffic is not dazzled
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Vauxhall/Opel's LED matrix light system deactivates individual LEDs so that oncoming traffic is not dazzled
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Technology is providing us with new ways to improve the way our roads are lit. Glow-in-the-dark road markings and street lights that switch on only when they detect a car are two such examples. Now, Vauxhall/Opel has unveiled a way to aim car headlights based on driver eye-tracking.

Vauxhall/Opel's existing headlight technology is known as Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL+). It has nine specific lighting functions that include automated activation of full beam, different lighting patterns for different driving environments and aiming headlight beams around corners based on a car's steering.

The firm is also getting ready to roll-out a new "LED matrix light system." This monitors for light sources from oncoming vehicles and deactivates specific LEDs in the matrix cluster to avoid dazzling other road users.

According to Vauxhall/Opel, its eye-tracking system has been in development for around two years. In addition to adjusting the direction of headlight beams, it can reportedly adjust beam intensity, too.

The system employs a camera that's used to monitor prominent points on a driver's face, such as the nose and eyes, in order to help detect line of sight. In addition, peripheral infra-red sensors and central photo-diodes are used, which allow the system to scan the driver’s eyes more than 50 times per second in dusk and night-time conditions.

The camera in the Vauxhall/Opel eye-tracking system scans the driver’s eyes more than 50 times per second to instantaneously adjust the headlamp beam
The camera in the Vauxhall/Opel eye-tracking system scans the driver’s eyes more than 50 times per second to instantaneously adjust the headlamp beam

Vauxhall/Opel says that some work was required to optimize the system, as the initial recording rate of the camera and calculation of the data together were too slow. This was resulting in too slow a headlight reaction. With this problem tackled, the developers say that the headlight actuators can react instantaneously on both horizontal and vertical planes.

Another issue that needed addressing was the natural tendency for a driver's eyes to dart around, resulting in the erratic movement of headlight beams. This was combated using an algorithm that delayed the response to some extent and resulted in a smoother movement of headlight beams.

The Vauxhall/Opel reports that the eye-tracking headlight system will work with any driver behind the wheel without the need to be calibrated.

It remains a research project at present, and Vauxhall/Opel tells Gizmag that it hopes to roll the system out in the long-term. The LED matrix light system, however, is expected to be introduced within 18 months.

Source: Vauxhall/Opel

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13 comments
jaxx003
This better wait for autonomous cars, because now, the effect on oncoming traffic would be disruptive to say the least.
hdm
1) led lights are the poorest choice of lighting to allow the human eye to see. flashy yes, crappy choice. definitively. automakers don't use science, they use fast and furious to design. 2) having lights shine where you see would be problematic at most, and expensive at best. having lights that turn when you turn? a great solution.
ponderer
Why is this new? I remember seeing autos with moving headlights when I was in Europe in the 70s.
Techtwit
Sounds fine for the driver who never moves his/her gaze from exactly where they should be going, but all those sneaky looks at the attractive passenger, or the look at something interesting on the other side of the road, checking the instruments, watching traffic to either side??
Sirmike
At very first glance this sounds almost OK.... until you see where most people are looking! Almost anywhere but at the road and mostly to their smartphone where they are texting or reading a text. Or at their companion in the car, or at a 'Sale!' sign.
Doesn't seem such a good idea on closer examination.
Bob Flint
I had a good chuckle, but sad at the same time to realize the idiots at GM for even wasting time thinking about this..
FrankNitty II
I have to agree...its a bad idea because of road rage conditions. People get upset when oncoming cars have their high beams on in conditions that don't warrant it. HELL, I get upset and now they want to give idiot drivers that don't put safety first this type of power. A look into the future...traffic deaths are about to rise.
Holland John
That is dumb, your headlights should point to where your car is heading, not where you eyes are looking, after all your car will hit something it is heading for and that is what you need to see.
4Freedom
I assume that they would limit the headlight movement to within a reasonable range, and that eye movement to areas outside that range would be ignored.
Derek Howe
I don't understand...the headlights are on the front of the vehicle....So how will they help illuminate my cell phone? hehehe