Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Anti-Rain Headlights

PostedMarch 24, 2013

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Anchor Lede: Glare from headlight beams bouncing off precipitation and back into a driver’s eyes can drastically reduce visibility. But a new technique can make rain and snow practically invisible.

Randy Atkins: Light from an experimental headlight avoids precipitation. Srinivasa Narasimhan, a Carnegie Mellon University engineer, says it’s equipped with a high-speed camera that records the location of drops or flakes. Then…

Srinivasa Narasimhan: All we have to do is use very simple models of motion to predict where they’re going to be in the next few milliseconds.

Randy Atkins: …before they can stray too far. The headlight can then avoid falling precip because it shines like a projector, with about a million tiny beams that can be individually turned on or off.

Srinivasa Narasimhan: So you’re streaming those beams of light in between the raindrops and snowflakes so that the light won’t hit any of these particles and therefore you may not see them.

Randy Atkins: It works well in the lab…but still needs to be tested in a fast- moving car. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.