Headlamp Mapping and Nighttime Visibility

Headlamp Mapping and Nighttime Visibility

Background

Vehicle headlamps and ambient lighting are the primary sources of light in nighttime driving scenarios. Understanding when an object on a roadway is likely to be detectable as a vehicle approaches can be a key element in the reconstruction of nighttime collisions. Knowledge of the shape of the headlamp beam and its capacity to illuminate objects in front of a vehicle is necessary when evaluating a driver’s ability to detect non-illuminated objects in low-light environments.

Approach

The level of illumination that is necessary for a driver to detect an object or pedestrian in low-light conditions depends on the brightness of the object, or the clothing color of the pedestrian. Headlamp mapping involves quantifying the shape and distribution of light from a vehicle headlamp beam.

Takeaway

Headlamp illumination patterns are unique to each vehicle. Characterizing the shape and distribution of light from a vehicle headlamp beam allows us to determine when an object or pedestrian in the path of a vehicle could be detectable by its driver on an unlit roadway.

Related Publication:

Gregg R. and Petroskey K. Assessment of Collision Markings on Non-Used Vehicle  Restraint Systems. SAE Int. J. Advances & Curr. Prac. in Mobility 2(4):2094-2106, 2020.

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