There’s good news for those whose mornings are often marred by a fog-covered roadway. There will soon be a technology that will help you. The Research & Development team at General Motors is working with different universities on such a system.
What is does is use a set of sensors and cameras to gather data. The data is then used to project the needed images on the windshield’s surface through compact ultra-violet lasers. Group lab manager of GM’s R&D Thomas Seder shared that what they are creating are enhanced vision systems.
Working in partnership with the University of Southern California and Carnegie Mellon University, among many others, Seder’s team hopes to make a windshield head-up system that fully utilizes camera-based sensor technologies, navigation systems, and even night vision.
All these are aimed at improving both the driver’s visibility and the ability to detect objects. The enhanced vision systems are considered as the 21st Century version of the head's up display technology. This is the same technology that was first marketed by GM back in 1988.
The way this system is designed, it helps the driver keep attention on the road by showing significant information like the vehicle warning messages, vehicle speed, and lane change indicator status. All of these are then fed to the field of vision of the driver and the head-up display systems.
This is the same system that is available on the GMC Acadia, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac STS, and Chevrolet Corvette. Meanwhile, scientists and lab technicians who are part of the company’s research and development team working in its Warren, MI facility are developing the next generation of head-up systems that could transform a normal windshield into something that improves driving safety even further.
According to Seder, though a full windshield head-up system has yet to be included in any of the company’s future vehicle programs, the various technologies that support it may soon be part of its vehicles in the near future.
Helping the windshield become transparent is a compact laser that produces a light beam which then excite the transparent phosphors that coat the windshield and result in it emitting light. The difference with GM’s HUD is that it uses a larger area of the windshield unlike the present systems which only utilize a small portion.
By having to use a larger surface, the system is able to alert the driver of possible hazards that may occur like motorcycles passing by, any children playing on the road, or other situations that happen outside a driver’s field of vision.
On a foggy day, a situation that can be aggravated by either snow or even sleet, this enhanced vision system uses the head-up system and combines it with night vision to give the exact location of any obstacles on the road that could not typically be seen with the naked eye.
To improve this particular safety feature, the head-up system links with the automated sign reading technology to warn the driver if they have gone over the speed limit and if there are any constructions, or other possible issues on the road.
This is the same as the Opel Eye system that was originally launched with the 2009 Opel Insignia. The system can even utilize data from the navigation system and inform the driver if it is time to exit since it can read even the overhead traffic signs.