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Content archived on 2024-06-10

Driving in Adverse Weather and visibility conditions


Objectives and content
In the future years automotive industry has to solve the
hard task of improving the social acceptability of cars
solving pollution and safety problems. In the safety
area one of the problems that has not yet been solved is
driving in poor visibility conditions like fog, night and
adverse weather conditions. As it is known: fog is the
cause of large number of accidents on highways involving
a great number of vehicles. Even one-two hundred
vehicles are involved in the same accident, causing many
The main objective of this project is to design, develop
and test with car drivers a prototype system for far
infrared vision on vehicles that will have a strong
impact on driving safety. In fact new generation of far
infrared sensors can offer a powerful answer to reduced
visibility conditions. A strong social impact will be
obtained by reducing the number of accidents on the road,
which cause around 50.000 deaths in Europe every year.
European car accidents statistics show that around 37% of
accidents occur in poor visibility conditions, so the
importance of the problem is strongly felt.
In addition driver's fatigue will be reduced increasing
comfort and mobility for elderly drivers who are more
affected by visual acuity reduction.
In the last years different far infrared sensors have
been developed, and are still under development, for
medical military and aeronautical applications; these
system are directed towards end users which are
instructed to work with them. These markets do not
require strong cost limitations.
Since now technology limitation prevented the realisation
of far infrared camera suitable for automotive
requirements, in terms of performances, dimensions and
A system for the automotive market must comply with cost
limitations and has to be designed according to the end
users requirements and to human factors.
The project will make far infrared high performance
detectors available for large markets. Other sectors,
like medical and surveillance, will take benefits from
project results.
In the project an automotive far infrared camera,
starting from an existing far infrared uncooled, high
resolution, fast response 8-12mm sensor, will be realised
by designing and developing low cost and dimension
limited electronics together with low cost high
performance optic to reach large distribution market cost
target. The images acquired by the camera, and
eventually processed, will be presented to the driver in
a Head Down Virtual Image Display (HD-VID) that will be
designed and developed inside the project.
According to previous experimental results on existing
image presentation devices (like Head Up Display), the
HD-VID approach is the most promising to avoid
distraction because the aim is to present the images in
the lower part of driver's field of view without covering
the normal viewing area as the images are not overlapped
on the external scene.
The driver does not lose the link with the road, because
the images remain in the peripheral view; the images,
presented at a virtual distance, do not make driver's
eyes switching the focus. Lot of efforts is required on
human factors to reach user acceptability and usability
of the system.
No other European projects, except PROMETHEUS some years
ago, have tackled this topic related to automotive
application, and no similar systems are available on the
market. In USA Texas Instruments and DELCO are testing
the function for safety benefit, as this technology is
receiving a lot of attention from both carmakers and
university researcher.

Call for proposal

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EU contribution
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Strada Torino 50

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Total cost
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Participants (4)