When computer hardware companies start getting involved with the development of automotive technologies, you can be sure some futuristic stuff is about to go down. How does invisible rain sound to you? Intel, along with Carnegie Mellon University, has come up with an idea for a new headlight system that can make rain seem to disappear from the driver's direct line of sight.

According to CNET, the headlight uses a camera housed within the headlight assembly to detect rain (and presumably snow or hail) as it falls, and then it uses a processor to anticipate the path of the rain. Finally, the actual light is created by a projector, which uses the information supplied by the processor to block out the pixels where the rain is expected to be. This technology, as you can see in the image above, should help improve visibility since there will be less light reflected back at the driver by raindrops.

For now, the only way you can see this rain-cancelling technology is in a demonstration in the video report posted below, but Intel thinks that it could make its way into production within the next 10 years.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      torqued
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is this solving a problem that doesn't exist? The biggest problem with driving in the rain is the windshield itself. If the rain's so heavy that wipers can't keep up, I don't see this helping. If wipers work, well I can see just fine then. I still think this research is great. We may find another application for it. But it's not that exciting to me as an automobile technology...
        Israel Isassi
        • 2 Years Ago
        @torqued
        agree to a point.. even in light right the glare from rain on some surfaces can be pretty bad...
      Israel Isassi
      • 2 Years Ago
      Someone will modify the software so that it projects movies at oncoming traffic..
        SloopJohnB
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Israel Isassi
        Me like it...hacker heaven to project porno movies....
      m_2012
      • 2 Years Ago
      Active headlights are illegal in the US. Lets hope for some law changes so we can get tech like this and active LED's.
      Thurman Williams
      • 1 Year Ago
      Cybernetically, as with OTHER technologies like ABS, this could cause drivers to overcompensate, as the feedback is faulty. The road looks clear, in the middle of a downpour.
      Zeus
      • 1 Year Ago
      Meanwhile real drivers everywhere are just watching the rain in the headlights to determine where to brake, how to move the steering wheel and how early to get on the gas. Take your headlights along with your law suits and technical difficulties, recalls etc and leave the driving bits to the few but many true petrol heads that are still out there. When technology starts to make less sense than common sense it's time to step back from tech and re evaluate the driving experience as opposed to doing things just because they are technically possible. Exactly why a real drivers car will never be made by guys who think technology can solve / make everything better without a humans input or response. Next they will make something where you can't see snow. Have these people ever driven a "car" in their lifetime?
      Shiftright
      • 2 Years Ago
      How about lighting up rain drops in different colors, synchronnized to the music the radio is playing? Rave to work, YEAH!
      jonnybimmer
      • 2 Years Ago
      Woah AB, getting some deja vu here. Anyways, nice tech exercise, but I really hope they don't start implementing these into cars. The cost alone should be a reason why these shouldn't be mass produced (headlights are expensive enough with modern tech, can you imagine the cost of a fender-bender with a camera and high-powered projector in each light? You know, on top of the cost of radar, light vision and proximity sensors that cars are equipped with nowadays). But really, are rain drops really that distracting to drivers? When driving in the rain, the last thing I'd think is "Boy I'm sure having a hard time driving since I'm too busy noticing how all the little drops light up."
      BryNum
      • 2 Years Ago
      I smell unintended rain lawsuits!!!
      Bassracerx
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is 5 or 10 year old news
      IBx27
      • 2 Years Ago
      Audi and Volvo already tried that, the DOT said no. When computer hardware companies start getting involved with the development of automotive technologies, all they can come up with is useless clutter.
      SloopJohnB
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hmmm...how about a hack that blocks out the light where a pedestrian is supposed to be? Nasty cyberwarfare....
      Chunky
      • 2 Years Ago
      I would rather have this technology on all streetlamps than on the cars. The freeway I drive to work has LED streetlamps and they light up rain drops much more than regular bulbs. Being stationary, the computers don't have to process with the speed of the car and can probably block drops 20 ft up . Maybe they can even find a way so that you wont get road glare at night, special stripe paint?
        SloopJohnB
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Chunky
        I suspect it won't work on streetlights since the projector/computer phases the light from the POV of the projector, not the multiple points of view of the multiple motorists eyeballs at street level. Still...great idea.
          Chunky
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SloopJohnB
          Not sure I'm understanding how the drivers eye is part of the equation. As long as the camera and projector are mounted together the light should miss the individual droplets and illuminate the road, no matter what angle its viewed at. If the light is capable of missing the droplet completely, it shouldn't reflect off the droplet into anyone's view. Either way the POV of the camera and driver are different, headlights being several feet from the driver.
          Agilis
          • 1 Year Ago
          @SloopJohnB
          The driver's vantage point combined with the projector's fixed position is the key to this tech working. If we assume this projector system is available and working.. if you were using this tech and stood outside your car, you would essentially defeat the system. The system is not actually removing the rain drops ... It's simply masking the rain drops from the driver's (I assume passenger's too) point-of-view, using the projector's fixed viewpoint as reference. If 1 of the 2 is off by a significant margin, then the system is defeated. For this system to work on a street light, it would need to account for every vantage point possible which I don't think is possible at the present time. This is akin to having a level field of view in 1 position, then shifting positions, and that FOV no longer being level. Because this is a projector, the light is precise rather than a traditional light source.
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