Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Intel have developed a prototype smart headlight system that can cope with raindrops and wind-blown snowflakes. The system, which has been tested during a snowstorm in Pittsburgh, uses a projector, camera and 50/50 beamsplitter.
The path of the particles is tracked and their future locations are determined so they can be dis-illuminated and the headlight beam only shines light around the precipitation. Standard vehicle headlights tend to illuminate raindrops and snowflakes, making them appear as bright flickering streaks that are distracting to the driver.
This new system proposes a headlight capable of avoiding precipitation to improve driver visibility while adequately illuminating the road. This would effectively reduce driver stress and make roads safer during rain and snow storms.
The researchers have conducted simulations and built a prototype system to show that the approach is feasible and effective. The video below shows standard headlights reflecting off snowflakes, before the smart headlight takes over and improves visibility: