General Motors is building a prototype windshield capable of enhancing a driver's vision with lasers. No, this isn't the automotive equivalent of LASIK, but rather a system for identifying road markings and making them more visible to drivers during difficult conditions. The system is being developed with older drivers in mind, and of course won't be able to completely compensate for bad vision. So how does it work?
The system is different from a Heads Up Display or existing night vision systems in that it works over a much larger area of the windscreen and serves to highlight, not obscure vision. A system of grille-mounted cameras operating outside the visible spectrum scan the road ahead while more sensors inside determine the location of the drivers head and eyes. Invisible lasers then light up the specially coated windscreen, which reacts to their beams, highlighting things like lane markings, traffic signs, pedestrians and other vehicles. While the system is intended for older drivers, it could end up being useful to anyone who has to drive through heavy fog or rain.
The technology is still in the experimental phase, but is growing increasingly valuable as the proportion of older drivers in the world's biggest markets continues to increase rapidly. GM foresees demand from these customers for technology that will enable them to remain independent later in life while remaining safe.
Jalopnik Snap Judgement: We like toys. We especially like toys that make us safer. So if this works, and doesn't add too much to the cost or weight of the vehicle, we very well may like it too.
[via Car Central]