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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-144
Date: December 2005
Enhanced Night Visibility Series, Volume XIII: Phase III—Study 1: Comparison of Near Infrared, Far Infrared, High Intensity Discharge, and Halogen Headlamps on Object Detection in Nighttime Clear Weather
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Following is a summary list of the overall conclusions in Phase III—Study 1:
IR vision systems provide the potential for earlier detection of objects; however, some question remains regarding the effect on the driver of when objects are not presented in a display. The following items outline IR-related findings based on the tested systems:
From this research, development of recommendations for future direction in display-based nighttime VES systems is possible. System engineers should pursue a display that is located as close to the forward road scene as possible, using HHD- or Heads-Up Display-type (HUD) technology. Possible objects should be called out clearly in a display to minimize the need for a driver to spend time visually scanning a display. At the same time, it is not desirable for drivers to have the perception that they could drive solely by using a display. Ideally, an interface that attracts the driver’s attention when necessary but that would not otherwise require glances is preferable. This might include HUD technology, auditory warnings when a possible object is present, or activating the display only when possible objects are present. When a display is visually interrogated by the driver, the required glance time should be minimized. This might be accomplished by presenting objects in high contrast or, as enabling technology becomes feasible, by augmenting the scene with distinctive graphics to call out possible objects.
The possibility of users missing objects that were not presented on displays should be investigated further. If users are allocating attention to a display rather than to the forward road scene, what variables influence this behavior? For example, would a less realistic display increase or decrease this level of attention? Would a symbolic format or a HUD presentation eliminate this effect?
How wide an FOV is wide enough? Investigation of the performance of VESs should be undertaken to develop guidelines regarding appropriate fields of view in more severe road geometries such as on secondary roads and in neighborhoods.