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Old 02-03-2009, 11:33 AM   #1
MacNews
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Default U.S. researchers propose self dimming high beams

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U.S. researchers propose self dimming high beams

Updated Tue. Feb. 3 2009 10:02 AM ET
The Canadian Press
TROY, N.Y. -- U.S. researchers may have refined a way to help with the old problem of high-beam headlights temporarily blinding oncoming drivers.
After studying roadway glare for two years, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center said their rough prototype blocks a measured slice of an auto's light beam projecting into the other lane.
In their lab in Troy, centre director Mark Rea stood squinting in front of a blazing headlamp while colleague John Bullough slid a small metal finger behind the lens to demonstrate. Rea was able to open his eyes wide even as the light shone all around him.
He laughingly called it "guilt-free visibility."
Their work is funded by US$890,000 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Glare is believed to be a major reason the traffic fatality rate is about three times higher at night.
If anything, the problem has gotten worse in the past decade with high-riding SUVs and pickup trucks. Also, some newer cars are equipped with blue-tinged "high-intensity discharge" (HID) lights, which bother some drivers.
Clicking off the brights reduces glare, but it also leaves drivers with a less expansive view of the road. And besides, studies have shown most people don't even use their high beams.
Rea said that if you're driving faster than 50 to 65 km/h with low beams, you're "overdriving your headlights." In other words, a lot of drivers are not seeing enough of what is coming at them.
"Ultimately, we have to come up with something better than low beams,"
said Bullough, who runs the centre's Transportation Lighting Program.
Bullough and Rea propose driving with high beams on all the time, but with the system that can sense oncoming traffic and self dim in the appropriate direction.
It can be done with a simple shadow-making shim, as in the Troy lab. On newer LED headlights, selected diodes can be dimmed at the appropriate time.
Such dimming systems could also be used to protect drivers ahead from rearview mirror glare.
The concept is not entirely new.
Michigan-based Gentex Corp., for example, makes a traffic-sensing system called SmartBeam that dims high beams when cars approach. Company officials say it's available on about 20 models worldwide.
Michael Flannagan of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute said the concept of just shading a portion of high beams has been around for a while, though it's only become technically feasible in recent years.
Rea and Bullough suggest three to four degrees of the high beam should be blocked for roadway safety. The researchers are offering the traffic safety agency performance specifications for manufacturers that choose to make such a headlight, whether it's halogen, HID or LED. They'll also present their idea soon to headlight manufacturers.
"In concept, people have kicked it around for decades," said Flannagan. "It's the right thing to do."
But it would come at a cost. Consider that replacement LED headlights can cost more than $200, and that's without sensors. Rea said the cost would be rolled into the price of a new car. He said the benefits of safer roads will outweigh potential costs.
"I think in three years you're going to see this on cars," he said.
I think self-dimming high beams is a good idea, I'm constantly blinded by people using high beams around a corner.


Quote:
Rea said that if you're driving faster than 50 to 65 km/h with low beams, you're "overdriving your headlights."
Would be nice if I could use my high beams over 65Km/h and not blind everyone lol.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:45 AM   #2
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Thank god. It pisses me off how many people think it's OK to keep your high beams on all the time driving in the city. It's terrible here - probably 1 in 5 cars drive around with high beams all the time. Even flashing MY high beams won't get them to shut theirs off. I usually have to flick my hellas on for a second to get the point across.
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Old 02-03-2009, 12:09 PM   #3
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My grandfathers old Cady had this feature. It would automatically shut off the high beams if it detected light from an oncoming vehicle.

It's great if you only pass 1 car every 5-10 min! My dad took it out once and his problem was he didn't know how to turn it off and it was busy with traffic the computer kept flashing them on and off.

A cop actually pulled him over and was going to give him a ticket for flashing cars thinking he was letting them know of a speed trap!

But eventually let him off and said "you need to know how to operate your vehicle before you drive it sir!"

hahah

So the automatic headlights have been around for years!

But I think it never took off because of this exact problem!????
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Old 02-03-2009, 12:13 PM   #4
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Just another useless gadget that adds cost to cars and creates a real problem when it fails.

How about just ensuring that people on the road actually know how to drive?
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Old 02-03-2009, 02:48 PM   #5
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Reminds me of all those people driving new cars with only their DRLs.
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Old 02-03-2009, 05:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alcoolaid View Post
Reminds me of all those people driving new cars with only their DRLs.
Exactly. especially when it's dark, foggy, or raining as the use of tail lights would make it more safe for other drivers.
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Old 02-03-2009, 05:31 PM   #7
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simplest safest thing the car companys is do, is run your normal low beam setup all the time, and leave high beams as a step up, no more no lights or DRLs or parking lights.

then we don't have the bull**** we do today, like said above, of people running the drls in the night Chrysler minivan with marker lights FTL

DRL's are a crutch for stupid people.
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Old 02-03-2009, 05:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alcoolaid View Post
Reminds me of all those people driving new cars with only their DRLs.
Welcome to richmond, oops, I mean Vancity...
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Old 02-03-2009, 05:51 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by rockcrete View Post
How about just ensuring that people on the road actually know how to drive?
+1. North American is generally retarded when it comes to driving.
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Old 02-03-2009, 05:54 PM   #10
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If i had a beater, I would run into those morons with only DRL's on
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Old 02-03-2009, 05:55 PM   #11
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I think the 09 Corolla has a sensor that auto turns on the lights. It still has a switch to manually turn on the lights, but there's no indicator on the dash.
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Old 02-03-2009, 05:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alcoolaid View Post
Reminds me of all those people driving new cars with only their DRLs.
I would rather have cars with DRL driving around than cars with HID kits glaring into my eyes (especially for someone who is sensitive to bright light )
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truenosan View Post
If i had a beater, I would run into those morons with only DRL's on
Lol I've thought about that many times.
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spore View Post
I would rather have cars with DRL driving around than cars with HID kits glaring into my eyes (especially for someone who is sensitive to bright light )
True. I'm talking about cars that are new factory cars equipped with projectors, bi-xenon's etc... they don't glare at all, provide really good lighting yet people don't turn them on because they "think" they are on just because their dash lights are on.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alcoolaid View Post
True. I'm talking about cars that are new factory cars equipped with projectors, bi-xenon's etc... they don't glare at all, provide really good lighting yet people don't turn them on because they "think" they are on just because their dash lights are on.
Hence I hate the new civics with their electronic speedometer. At least in the analog meter gauges, those people would turn on the parking lights just so they can see their speedometer. With the invention of light-up digital speedometer, people just forget the importance of allowing others to see where you are... On my way to Richmond (a 10 minute drive), I've been blinded by 3 civics, 1 corolla, 1 Mercedes (the 1990's kind), and 2 SUV's all because of their stupid HID kits. HID kit is a far more serious problem than high beams.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:13 PM   #16
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Oh well, there's nothing much you can do then just drive. I just flash my high beams if I'm not lazy and squint. If the car is behind me, auto-dimming mirror ftw! hahaha
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:34 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spore View Post
I would rather have cars with DRL driving around than cars with HID kits glaring into my eyes (especially for someone who is sensitive to bright light )
I have the same problem And in a city that is SO bright it is easy to forget to turn on your lights. I call them morons or blind. The supplement Lutein takes away the eye pain that they can cause.
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