Intel Car Headlight Features Projector, Processor

Dennis Faas's picture

Intel and a team of Carnegie Mellon University researchers have successfully created a "smart automobile headlight" prototype designed to reduce the number of hazardous incidents caused by inclement weather.

The design features a three-part interior comprised of a projector, camera, and processor.

The projector extends outward, as would the headlight of a standard vehicle. Beneath the projector sits a camera that is able to capture the speed and outline of a falling rain drop, snowflake, etc.

The camera relays this information to the adjoining processor, which makes a prediction as to the path of the falling particle. The projector then illuminates a transparent path ahead for the driver.

Think of the rain as pixels on a computer screen. In this analogy, the processor would be able to pick, and cancel out, nearly all of these pixels for the duration of its descending path across the front of the headlights, thus creating the illusion that the rain drops, snowflakes, etc. are not even there.

While this might seem complex, the entire chain of events takes only a fraction of a second to process.

Prototype Test Results Render High Accuracy

Early tests showed the elimination of 70 to 80 per cent of visible rain during a heavy storm, while losing only 5 or 6 per cent of the light from the projector.

The system was also shown to be less accurate the faster the car travels, though most motorists tend to reduce their traveling speeds in bad weather anyways. Even in the worst thunderstorm, an individual traveling about 20mph would notice a 70 per cent improvement in visibility. (Source:

Integration Expected Within Ten Years

Naturally, replacing a standard light bulb with Intel's three-part interior system would be an expensive pursuit, driving up the cost of a new vehicle. Intel understands this, and admits that the technology will probably not be offered in new cars anytime in the near future.

The company did remain hopeful that integration would arrive within the next ten years, however. (Source:

When approached for comment, Intel engineer John Tomkins expressed his hope that the system would one day "save lives on the road" but cautioned potential users not to be completely fooled by the emergent technology. After all, it's still important to drive cautiously in poor weather.

A video of Intel's new system can be seen by clicking here.

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