7 Revolutionary Technologies & Their Effect on How We Drive at Night
Maybe in the future, self-driving cars will be able to navigate at all hours of the day. Until then, here are 7 technologies to help us drive safer while taking a night drive.
Digital lighting matrix
Digital Matrix LED lighting uses a front-facing camera and zillions of microscopic mirrors on a single chip to reflect an LED light. This gives the driver better control over the shape, direction, and brightness level of lights. For example, you can illuminate the road ahead but aim a brighter light at lane lines.
Moreover, Digital Matrix lighting reduces glare and offers better visibility around curves. Knowing what’s coming ahead when navigating around a dark road is a major benefit.
Nanoparticle contacts and injections
Humans can’t normally see infrared in the visible spectrum, so it’s a pretty cool way to enhance your nighttime view — as long as you don’t mind a few injections to the eyeballs (or wearing contacts). On the road, your overall scope of view will improve. Additionally, you’ll see things more clearly and with more time to react and make a stop or turn.
AR night vision
Night vision is getting an upgrade in the form of AR night vision goggles. The military will use these goggles to enhance the ability to see faces from further away, and drivers can experience plenty of benefits with them, too.
Eyewear-like augmented reality goggles can give a major boost to night driving. You’ll have a stronger recognition of living beings on the road. If another car is coming your way or a wild animal decides now is the perfect time to cross the street, you’ll be alerted quickly.
High-tech sensors in autonomous cars
Autonomous cars already use sensors, like video cameras, radar, ultrasonic sensors, and LiDAR (light detection and ranging). Although not without challenges; LiDAR, for instance, is limited by distance and weather. These limitations are the reason sensor fusion is so important. That’s the ability to “stitch” visual inputs, allowing for a more fully formed picture for the computer to interpret.
These sensors work in tandem and are continuing to improve the autonomous driving experience. They’re helpful even if oncoming cars are only using low beams or a pedestrian is wearing darker clothing.
Cars without windshields
Yep, windshields cars are an actual possibility. In fact, McLaren unveiled its open-top Elva supercar in 2019, introducing the Active Air Management System (AAMS), which directs air out of the car’s hood and above the cabin, developing a virtual windshield in the process. No windshield and windows actually mean you’ll never again have to worry about streaks or glare.
When the company uses GPS, or cellular data, to create a virtual “fence,” triggering a pre-programmed action, that’s called Geofencing. For example, in the shipping industry, geofencing keeps tabs on vehicles, tracking and controlling a fleet of trucks with cargo. And it may be coming to cars, too.
Some countries are currently experimenting with geofencing on buses and trucks. While the primary focus is on speed, it could theoretically be used to control traffic flow. It would add to driving safety by controlling speed around corners or areas of low visibility.
When you’re night driving, it’s easy to get distracted by a bright sign or oncoming headlights. That distraction impacts our reaction time and our speed. With geofencing, our vehicles could react more safely.
At night, road signs can be harder to see for both drivers and pedestrians. A new study says a thin film could be the solution for making these signs more visible. The film is made up of polymer microspheres and laid down on transparent tape. When light hits the film at night, some viewers will see one stable color, while others will see changing colors, depending on the angle of observation.
These revolutionary road signs could call attention to important information about traffic, construction or accidents. You will be able to plan your next move more effectively, while pedestrians could be alerted to upcoming traffic situations, even if they aren’t paying enough attention.