When you were learning how to drive, you likely heard your driving instructor advise you to “keep your eyes on the road.” In the future, this advice may become even more important, as Opel’s third-generation adaptive lighting technology will decide where to direct its light beam based on where your eyes are pointed.
The light system uses a webcam, infra-red sensors and central photo-diodes to scan prominent points of the driver’s head and their facial features. The camera detects movement in the driver’s face, relaying the info to a computer which then translates it into commands for two electronic actuators attached to the headlamps. This essentially allows for the driver to control their headlamps using their eyes, Opel says.
“We’ve been pursuing this concept of controlling the direction and intensity of light based on where the driver is looking for around two years. The more we understand the benefits of this technology, the more intensively we push ahead with our joint project,” said Ingolf Schneider, Director of Lighting Technology at Opel.
To prevent the headlights from darting around constantly like our eyes do, Opel applied a delay algorithm to ensure “suitably flowing movement for the light cone.” Additionally, to overcome the problem we mentioned earlier of keeping your eyes on the road, lighting engineers ensured the system always provided light in the direction of travel.
Opel’s third-generation eye-tracking lighting system is being developed alongside its new LED matrix light, expected to be introduced on its production cars within the next 18 months. The system provides “glare-free, high beam lighting,” which will adjust the direction of the light away from oncoming traffic while keeping areas relevant to the driver illuminated.