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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-147
Date: December 2005

Enhanced Night Visibility Series, Volume XVI: Phase III—Characterization of Experimental Objects

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U.S. Department of Transportation

Federal Highway Administration

Research, Development, and Technology

Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center

6300 Georgetown Pike

McLean, VA 22101-2296


FOREWORD

The overall goal of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Visibility Research Program is to enhance the safety of road users through near-term improvements of the visibility on and along the roadway. The program also promotes the advancement of new practices and technologies to improve visibility on a cost-effective basis.

The following document provides a characterization of the experimental objects used in the evaluation of the performance of drivers during nighttime driving using visual headlamp technologies and visual headlamp technologies augmented with in-vehicle displays for near- and far-infrared sensors. The experimental objects were used in the Phase III efforts of the Enhanced Night Visibility (ENV) project, a comprehensive evaluation of evolving and proposed headlamp technologies. The individual studies within the overall project are documented in an 18-volume series of FHWA reports, of which this is Volume XVI. It is anticipated that the reader will select those volumes that provide information of specific interest.

This report will be of interest to headlamp designers, automobile manufacturers and consumers, third-party headlamp manufacturers, human factors engineers, and people involved in headlamp and roadway specifications.



 

Michael F. Trentacoste
Director, Office of Safety
    Research and Development

Notice

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.
FHWA-HRT-04-147

2. Government Accession No.

3. Recipient’s Catalog No.

4. Title and Subtitle
Enhanced Night Visibility Series, Volume XVI: Phase III—Characterization of Experimental Objects

5. Report Date
December 2005

6. Performing Organization Code

7. Author(s)
Ronald B. Gibbons, Chris Edwards, Santosh Gupta

8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
3500 Transportation Research Plaza
Blacksburg, VA 24061

10. Work Unit No.

11. Contract or Grant No.
DTFH61-98-C-00049

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address
Office of Safety Research and Development
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296

13.Type of Report and Period Covered
Final Report

14. Sponsoring Agency Code
HRDS-05

15. Supplementary Notes
Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR): Carl Andersen, HRDS-05

16. Abstract
The Enhanced Night Visibility (ENV) project is a series of experiments undertaken to investigate different visual enhancement systems (VES) for the nighttime driving task. The purpose of this characterization activity is to establish the photometric nature of the objects presented to the observer during the ENV Phase III studies, which assessed headlamp beam patterns as well as the influence of infrared (IR) technology on object detection. The photometric measurements of interest are the object luminance and the background luminance. Other calculated parameters were established such as object contrast with the background and object visibility level. The measurements were taken at the threshold of detection and calculated for three visible-light VESs and three IR VESs.

For the visible-light VESs, the photometric data showed the influence of the headlamp distribution and the suitability of the various metrics to predict object visibility. For the IR systems, the data gave an indication of the usage of the in-vehicle systems and their distraction level for the driver.

17. Key Words
Halogen, Headlamps, High Intensity Discharge, Infrared, Visibility, Vision Enhancement System, Photometry, Infrared, Characterization

18. Distribution Statement
No restrictions. This document is available through the National Technical Information Service; Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classif. (of this report)
Unclassified

20. Security Classif. (of this page)
Unclassified

21. No. of Pages
69

22. Price

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)          Reproduction of completed page authorized


SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors


ENHANCED NIGHT VISIBILITY PROJECT REPORT SERIES

This volume is the 16th of 18 volumes in this research report series. Each volume is a different study or summary, and any reference to a report volume in this series will be referenced in the text as “ENV Volume I,” “ENV Volume II,” and so forth. A list of the report volumes follows:

Volume Title Report Number
  I           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Executive Summary FHWA-HRT-04-132
  II           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Overview of Phase I and
Development of Phase II Experimental Plan
FHWA-HRT-04-133
  III           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase II—Study 1: Visual
Performance During Nighttime Driving in Clear Weather
FHWA-HRT-04-134
  IV           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase II—Study 2: Visual
Performance During Nighttime Driving in Rain
FHWA-HRT-04-135
  V           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase II—Study 3: Visual
Performance During Nighttime Driving in Snow
FHWA-HRT-04-136
  VI           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase II—Study 4: Visual
Performance During Nighttime Driving in Fog
FHWA-HRT-04-137
  VII           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase II—Study 5: Evaluation of
Discomfort Glare During Nighttime Driving in Clear Weather
FHWA-HRT-04-138
  VIII           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase II—Study 6: Detection of
Pavement Markings During Nighttime Driving in Clear Weather
FHWA-HRT-04-139
  IX           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase II—Characterization of
Experimental Objects
FHWA-HRT-04-140
  X           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase II—Visual Performance
Simulation Software for Objects and Traffic Control Devices
FHWA-HRT-04-141
  XI           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase II—Cost-Benefit Analysis FHWA-HRT-04-142
  XII           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Overview of Phase II and
Development of Phase III Experimental Plan
FHWA-HRT-04-143
  XIII           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase III—Study 1: Comparison
of Near Infrared, Far Infrared, High Intensity Discharge, and Halogen Headlamps on Object Detection in Nighttime Clear Weather
FHWA-HRT-04-144
  XIV           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase III—Study 2: Comparison
of Near Infrared, Far Infrared, and Halogen Headlamps on Object Detection in Nighttime Rain
FHWA-HRT-04-145
  XV           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase III—Study 3: Influence of
Beam Characteristics on Discomfort and Disability Glare
FHWA-HRT-04-146
  XVI           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase III—Characterization of
Experimental Objects
FHWA-HRT-04-147
  XVII           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phases II and III—
Characterization of Experimental Vision Enhancement Systems
FHWA-HRT-04-148
  XVIII           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Overview of Phase III FHWA-HRT-04-149

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1—INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 2—METHODS

CHAPTER 3—RESULTS

CHAPTER 4—DISCUSSION

REFERENCES

 

LIST OF FIGURES

  1. Diagram. Bird’s-eye view of HID 1 beam pattern.
  2. Diagram. Forward beam pattern of HID 1.
  3. Diagram. Bird’s-eye view of HID 2 beam pattern.
  4. Diagram. Forward beam pattern of HID 2.
  5. Photo. Object: pedestrian, black clothing, left (BlackLF).
  6. Photo. Object: pedestrian, black clothing, right (BlackRT).
  7. Photo. Object: pedestrian, denim clothing, left (BlueLF).
  8. Photo. Object: pedestrian, denim clothing, right (BlueRT).
  9. Photo. Object: pedestrian in left turn, left side (LFtrnLF).
  10. Photo. Object: pedestrian in left turn, right side (LFtrnRT).
  11. Photo. Object: pedestrian in right turn, left side (RTtrnLF).
  12. Photo. Object: pedestrian in right turn, right side (RTtrnRT).
  13. Photo. Object: far off axis, left (FOALT).
  14. Photo. Object: far off axis, right (FOART).
  15. Photo. Object: bloom object, left (BloomLF).
  16. Photo. Object: bloom object, right (BloomRT).
  17. Photo. Object: dog.
  18. Photo. Object: pavement marking turn arrow.
  19. Photo. Object: raised retroreflective pavement markers.
  20. Photo. Object: sign.
  21. Photo. Object: tire tread.
  22. Photo. Measurement regions for pedestrians.
  23. Photo. Measurement regions for the tire tread.
  24. Photo. CCD photometer in experimental vehicle, side view.
  25. Photo. CCD photometer in experimental vehicle, front view.
  26. Photo. Headlamp testing rack.
  27. Diagram. Locations of objects in experiment.
  28. Equation. Contrast calculation.
  29. Equation. Basic ΔLth calculation.
  30. Equation. Time factor calculation.
  31. Equation. Age factor calculation.
  32. Equation. Complete ΔLth model calculation.
  33. Equation. Visibility level calculation.
  34. Bar graph. Comparison of object luminance at detection and recognition of pedestrian objects.
  35. Bar graph. Comparison of object luminance at detection and recognition of retroreflective objects.
  36. Bar graph. Comparison of object luminance at detection and recognition of obstacle objects.
  37. Bar graph. Mean luminance values at pedestrian object detection.
  38. Bar graph. Mean background luminance values at pedestrian object detection.
  39. Bar graph. Mean contrast values at pedestrian object detection.
  40. Bar graph. Older driver mean visibility levels at pedestrian object detection.
  41. Picture. Right turn right pedestrian in HID 2 Condition.
  42. Picture. Right turn right pedestrian in HLB Condition.
  43. Bar graph. Mean luminance values at obstacle object detection.
  44. Bar graph. Mean background luminance values at obstacle object detection.
  45. Bar graph. Mean contrast values at obstacle object detection.
  46. Bar graph. Older driver mean visibility levels at obstacle object detection.
  47. Bar graph. Mean luminance values at retroreflective object detection.
  48. Bar graph. Mean luminance values at retroreflective object recognition.
  49. Bar graph. Mean background luminance values at retroreflective object detection.
  50. Bar graph. Mean background luminance values at retroreflective object recognition.
  51. Bar graph. Mean contrast values at retroreflective object detection.
  52. Bar graph. Mean contrast values at retroreflective object recognition.
  53. Bar graph. Older driver mean visibility levels at retroreflective object detection.
  54. Bar graph. Older driver mean visibility levels at retroreflective object recognition.
  55. Bar graph. Comparison of older driver mean visibility levels at pedestrian object detection with the IR system versus the VIS systems.
  56. Bar graph. Comparison of older driver mean visibility levels at obstacle object detection with the IR systems versus the VIS systems.
  57. Bar graph. Comparison of older driver mean visibility levels at retroreflective object detection with the IR systems versus the VIS systems.
  58. Bar graph. Comparison of older driver mean visibility levels at sign recognition for the IR systems versus the VIS systems.
  59. Line graph. Age comparison for detection of pedestrians.

 

LIST OF TABLES

  1. VES type used in the experiment.
  2. Experimental objects used in the experiment.
  3. VES configurations and properties.
  4. Object descriptions.
  5. Object dimension summarization.
  6. VIS systems corresponding to minimum and maximum VIS system distances for detection and recognition.
  7. Pearson-r correlation results between detection and recognition by data and object type.
  8. IR systems corresponding to minimum and maximum IR distances for detection and recognition.

LIST OF ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS

 

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