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Experimental headlight system can see through rain and snow

July 06, 2012

Driving at night in falling rain or snow can be treacherous, but not just because the asphalt is slippery – visibility is also greatly reduced, as the driver’s view of the road ahead is obscured by brightly headlight-lit raindrops or snowflakes. In the future, however, that may not be so much of a problem. A team led by Carnegie Mellon University’s Prof. Srinivasa Narasimhan has developed an experimental headlight system that renders most foreground precipitation virtually invisible, while still adequately illuminating the road beyond.

According to a report in Technology Review, the system is able to “hide” 70 percent of raindrops in simulated thunderstorm conditions, at a driving speed of 30 km/h (18.6 mph). That figure drops to 15 to 20 percent when the speed is increased to 100 km/h (62 mph).

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