Mercedes' new S-class sedan will get an active infrared night-vision system. Considered to be a "permanent" high-beam system by the vendor Automotive Lighting it uses a standard headlight bulb and an infrared-pass filter to illuminate the road. A CDD and monitor is used to pick up the reflections and transmit them back to the driver. Since the emitted IR is invisible to oncoming traffic, the beam can take on a shape that allows the driver to see much further than with visible forward illumination. This differs from Cadillac's night-vision system, which was passive in nature and did not use IR illumination. What might give this technology a chance to succeed in the mass market is the use of non-specialized bulbs and the rapidly-declining price of CCDs, along with the proliferation of in-dash displays.
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