Tuesday, February 17, 2015

BMW is making night driving easier - good try but a long way to go

A couple of years back I spent some time with Toyota talking physical ageing and its implications on car design. I was surprised that they were not paying more attention to improving the driving experience at night.

For lots, probably most older drivers, night driving goes from being a relaxing experience to one that consumes a lot of physical and nervous energy. The reason is a combination of age related changes to the eye and the mind.

Businessweek had an article about some new developments aimed at making night driving easier and safer.

BMW's Night Vision with Dynamic Light Spot was featured. The company has been heavily advertising the feature in the UK.

You can see how it works from the video.

Clearly a great improvement and it is mighty good start, however, I think it has one major limitation. The driver has to switch vision and attention between the road and the screen.

Believe me, the thought of gazing at both the road and a screen, at night fills me with horror. I can see this being a great feature for a 20/20 vision 30 something that wants some additional safety, but forget it for their parents, let alone grandparents.

So car manufactures take note. What is required is the following:
A glass that cuts on headlight dazzle
A heads up display the superimposes this additional information onto the main field of vision (i.e. the windscreen)

If you can get that to work you have a winner. Dick Stroud

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