Stereoscopic Programmable Automotive Headlights for Improved Safety on the Road

Annual crash statistics continue to reveal the disturbing trend that driving at night is very dangerous despite nearly a century of automotive headlight development. Even with recent advances in adaptive headlight technology, a majority of accidents occur at night when there is less traffic on the road. The programmable headlight overcomes some of their functional and performance limitations by being versatile, i.e., capable of being programmed to perform many different types of tasks to increase safety for all drivers on the road. With previous support from the Technologies for Safe and Efficient Transportation University Center (T-SET UTC), the principal investigators have developed a single headlight prototype capable of operating at highway speeds. We have also developed several application algorithms and demonstrated them on the road. The goal of the proposed research is to design and develop a stereoscopic programmable headlight. The addition of a second headlight will enable the use of three-dimensional (3D) computer vision methods. More accurate algorithms for anti-glare high beams, seeing through rain and snow, and obstacle spotlighting will be developed. Algorithms for new applications such as dynamic beam forming and scene reconstruction will also be developed. The project will build a prototype and develop software for the stereoscopic headlight system. All algorithms developed will be demonstrated on the prototype. For the duration of the award period, a custom embedded solution will be developed to reduce the cost, size, and energy consumption of the headlight.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • The U.S. National Highway Safety Administration reports that more than half of the vehicle crashes and fatalities occur at night despite significantly less traffic during those. In many scenarios, for example,dark and narrow rural roads, bright headlights are required to safely see the driving environment (e.g., edge of the road, wildlife, pedestrians, etc.) especially when traveling at high speeds. Unfortunately, bright headlights also cause significant glare to other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians on the road. During rain and snowstorms, they also cause distracting bright flickering streaks. Thus, a headlight that adaptively illuminates the road environment without causing distractions would be expected to improve driver visibility and safety at night and during poor visibility conditions. Contract to a Performing Organization has not yet been awarded.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    Carnegie Mellon University

    Pittsburgh, PA  United States 
  • Project Managers:

    Ehrlichman, Courtney

  • Principal Investigators:

    Narasimhan, Srinivasa

    Tamburo, Robert

  • Start Date: 20160101
  • Expected Completion Date: 20170101
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01595750
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Technologies for Safe and Efficient Transportation University Transportation Center
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Apr 7 2016 9:09PM