What It Is and How It Works
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey

What It Is and How It Works

WHAT IS IT?

Allows a driver see things that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to see in the dark, extending the perception of the driver beyond the limited reach of its headlights.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Night vision systems come in two flavors: active or passive. Active night vision systems use infrared light sources to illuminate objects that are significantly further away than headlights can reach. Special infrared-sensing cameras identify and create an image of the hazard (people, animals, whatever) by collecting these tiny amounts of light, including the lower portion of the infrared light spectrum, that are present but imperceptible to our eyes. A processing unit amplifies the image to the point that we can see it. That image is then transmitted to the center stack display or in some cases an LCD panel in the instrument cluster. Passive systems also rely on the thermal radiation that is emitted from cars, animals, and other potential hazards. However, they don’t use their light sources. Instead, they rely on thermographic cameras to detect thermal radiation. In both cases, the system then alerts the driver with audible and visual cues if there is a hazard. With proper night-vision equipment, it is estimated that you can see a person standing at over 200 yards or four times the distance of headlights in pitch black conditions. Since more than half of all collisions happen after dark, this technology should be put to more use.

Audi
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Audi

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