Opel is developing an innovative vehicle lighting system that tracks a driver’s eyes and points the headlights in the direction they are looking in an attempt to improve visibility at night.
The eye-tracking technology represents the third-generation of adaptive lighting from Opel, following the German brand’s current AFL+ bi-xenon system and its forthcoming LED matrix light system that will go into series production within 18 months.
The new lighting system is a joint project between Opel’s International Technical Development Centre and the Technical University of Darmstadt.
Using a single camera equipped with peripheral infrared sensors and central photo-diodes that enable it to scan the driver’s eyes more than 50 times per second in dusk and night-time conditions.
The system translates the information gathered into data commands for electronically controlled actuators, which quickly align the vehicle’s headlamp projectors, making both horizontal and vertical adjustments.
Opel lighting technology director Ingolf Schneider said the final challenge the team had overcame in the system’s development was to keep the headlights from jerking around erratically when the driver’s eyes naturally and unconsciously jump from one focal point to another.
“To overcome this problem, we have successfully developed a sophisticated delay algorithm which ensures a suitably flowing movement for the light cone,” Schneider explained.
He said another significant feature of the eye-tracking technology was that it does not need to be individually calibrated for a particular driver.
“The system works perfectly with anyone behind the wheel, no matter what their size.”
Even if the driver is briefly distracted from looking at the road ahead, light is always provided in the direction of travel because the headlamps’ low beam of is programed to ensure sufficient illumination.
Schneider said Opel’s eye-tracking technology has been in development for about two years, and said that the more the team understands the benefits of the technology, the more intensively it pushes ahead to take the project from development phase to production.