New Headlights Make Raindrops Disappear

Do you ever have trouble driving through rain at night because every raindrop reflects your headlights? Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute has developed a new type of car headlight that reduces glare from falling rain or snow. The technology is akin to running between the raindrops -with light! Associate robotics professor Srinivasa Narasimhan explained:
The system uses a camera to track the motion of raindrops and snowflakes and then applies a computer algorithm to predict where those particles will be just a few milliseconds later. The light projection system then adjusts to deactivate light beams that would otherwise illuminate the particles in their predicted positions.

“A human eye will not be able to see that flicker of the headlights,” Narasimhan said. “And because the precipitation particles aren’t being illuminated, the driver won’t see the rain or snow either.”

To people, rain can appear as elongated streaks that seem to fill the air. To high-speed cameras, however, rain consists of sparsely spaced, discrete drops. That leaves plenty of space between the drops where light can be effectively distributed if the system can respond rapidly, Narasimhan said.

In their lab tests, Narasimhan and his research team demonstrated that their system could detect raindrops, predict their movement and adjust a light projector accordingly in 13 milliseconds. At low speeds, such a system could eliminate 70 to 80 percent of visible rain during a heavy storm, while losing only 5 or 6 percent of the light from the headlamp.

And if the system fails, the lights will still function as normal headlights. Link -via The Week

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What about the headlights of other cars? Would it be more dangerous to have all the rain suddenly reappear each time a car passes in the opposite direction?

Related question for everyone: does anyone else have trouble seeing lane markings on new roads during the rain? It seems like new pavement and striping material have the same reflectivity when wet. This only seems to be the case on newer roads but might also just be some quirk of my eyesight.
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