GM previews enhanced windshield vision system


March 20, 2010

Numerous sensors on the outside of the vehicle would feed data into the system so that important information could be displayed across the whole of the windshield

Numerous sensors on the outside of the vehicle would feed data into the system so that important information could be displayed across the whole of the windshield

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Wouldn't it be great if driving in thick fog, pounding rain or blizzard snow wasn't a visibility nightmare and road markings or important signage remained clear whatever the conditions. General Motors may be on the verge of striking automotive safety gold if the augmented vision display system its R&D; team recently demonstrated finds its way to commercial development.

Working with researchers from the numerous institutions including the University of Southern California and Carnegie Mellon University, GM's Research and Development team have come up with an enhanced vision system "that would use data gathered from an array of vehicle sensors and cameras" as well as inward-facing tracking technology to register driver reactions and movement and then "project images generated by compact ultra violet lasers directly onto the entire surface of the windshield".

The upshot being that important information about road conditions and markings, warning messages and numerous other bits of data useful to the driver can be projected directly onto the windshield - giving road edge detail in thick fog, offering helpful speed limit reminders, or warnings about objects in the road ahead. The group's Thomas Seder said: "Let’s say you’re driving in fog, we could use the vehicle’s infrared cameras to identify where the edge of the road is and the lasers could ‘paint’ the edge of the road onto the windshield so the driver knows where the edge of the road is."

The proposed next generation head-up system would use night vision, navigation and camera-based sensor technologies to feed important information and helpful driving aids to a full windshield display, which is "coated with a series of transparent phosphors which emit visible light when excited by a light beam - in this case from a compact laser". Additionally, the system could be combined with technology that has the ability to read road signs (such as that debuted in GM's Opel Insignia in 2009) and warn or remind the driver of speed restrictions or advise when an exit is due.

At this stage the system has not been earmarked for rollout to any vehicles but Seder has hinted that "some of the supporting technologies could end up in GM vehicles in the near-term future".

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Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

that would be great addition to the reckless drivers . if you can see the road clearly , you may not see the pedestrians , potholes , wet holes , icy spots etc . but your instinct tells you to drive faster .

Károly Hőss

Enhanced visibility does not mean enhanced traction... while it\'d be nice to see further, I have to wonder how many folks would assume that they can drive faster if they can see better.


It\'s a short-term fix. The logical next step once the vehicle is collecting that amount of information is to cut out the driver completely and have the vehicle control itself. Humans are the weak link - the sooner we remove them from the equation, the better. Granted, we may need sensors in the roads or other mechanisms to make automated driving perfect, but there\'s no question that\'s where we should be (and no doubt are) going.

Marcus Carr

@ Marcus Carr

I disagree. I actually enjoy driving which apparently most people do not these days. I\'m 25 and refuse to buy an automatic car. I also dislike the propensity of all modern car manufacturers to add so many computers into their cars. Some of the new cars aren\'t really driven by people anymore anyway. It\'s all electronic and computerised not mechanical or hydraulic. I rarely use cruise control because it doesn\'t give you the same \"feel\" for the road. My final point would be that the OS better not be Windows because we all know how often it locks up! (Yes even you Win7!) I like the old fashioned manual something I\'m glad isn\'t going out of fashion too quick


I think some ideas are too technical for everyday use, the cost of this idea must be huge, how many times in your driving career have you really needed electronics to guide you ? As others have pointed out, reckless drivers, icy conditions, will this device assist or encourage bad driving ?


@ boots.myall

Is because of all the mechanical and hydraulic that you like so much, that car are so heavy and so inefficient. By using only electric motors and electronic control the efficiency will go up like a rocket

Francesco Baldacchini

Scientific behavioral studies have shown that people drive faster in foggy conditions... a wierd sense of distorted motion perception due to limited visibility.

Most of the safety gains in foggy conditions will be made by collision avoidance radars and automatic brake applications. Once most cars (and big trucks) get them, the results will be dramatic.

/R Doc

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