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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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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 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 summarizes the results of a study on the performance of drivers during nighttime driving in clear weather using visual headlight technologies, and visual headlamp technologies augmented with in-vehicle displays for near- and far-infrared sensors. The study was conducted under Phase III of the Enhanced Night Visibility (ENV) project, a comprehensive evaluation of evolving and proposed headlamp technologies under various weather conditions. The individual studies within the overall project are documented in an 18-volume series of FHWA reports, of which this is Volume XIII. 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 those 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-04-144

2. Government Accession No.

3. Recipient’s Catalog No.

4. Title and Subtitle
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

5. Report Date
December 2005

6. Performing Organization Code

7. Author(s)
Shane B. McLaughlin, Jonathan M. Hankey, Thomas A. Dingus

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
Phase III—Study 1 was performed to further explore findings on far infrared (FIR) systems from Phase II, to investigate near infrared (NIR) and high intensity discharge (HID) technologies, and to investigate detection and recognition of retroreflective infrastructure components. The empirical testing for this study was performed at the Virginia Smart Road testing facility during clear weather conditions. A total of 18 participants were involved in the study. A 6 by 3 by 17 mixed-factorial design was used to investigate the effects of 6 different types of vision enhancement systems, 3 age groups, and 17 object presentations on detection and recognition distances; subjective evaluations were obtained for the different systems as well.
The results of the empirical testing suggest that infrared (IR) systems, when designed correctly, can provide pedestrian detection benefit in clear weather, particularly for pedestrians in dark clothing and veiled in the glare of oncoming headlamps. A wider field of view display appears to facilitate detection in curves of 1,250-m radius. Retroreflective objects may be detected earlier in an NIR display, but require direct visual observation to recognize the object or read signage. HID systems did not provide detection benefit over the baseline halogen headlamps tested.

17. Key Words
Detection, Recognition, Night Vision, Visibility, Vision Enhancement System, Infrared, Headlamp, Pedestrian, High Intensity Discharge, Halogen

18. Distribution Statement
No restrictions. This document is available to the public 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
164

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 13th 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 CHAPTER 5—CONCLUSIONS APPENDIX A—SCREENING QUESTIONNAIRE
APPENDIX B—INFORMED CONSENT FORM
APPENDIX C—VISION TEST FORM
APPENDIX D—PREDRIVE QUESTIONNAIRE
APPENDIX E—VISION TEST RESULTS
APPENDIX F—BRIGHTNESS SETTINGS
APPENDIX G—ANOVA SUMMARY TABLES FOR SUBJECTIVE RATINGS
APPENDIX H—PARTICIPANT EYE HEIGHT

REFERENCES



LIST OF FIGURES

  1. Diagram. Bird’s-eye view of beam pattern of HID 1.
  2. Diagram. Forward beam pattern of HID 1.
  3. Diagram. Bird’s-eye view of beam pattern of HID 2.
  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: RRPMs.
  20. Photo. Object: sign.
  21. Photo. Object: tire tread.
  22. Diagram. Subjective ratings scale.
  23. Photo. Data collection display screen.
  24. Photo. Headlamp testing rack.
  25. Diagram. Smart Road layout with object locations.
  26. Photo. Slow lead vehicle.
  27. Photo. Pass participant vehicle.
  28. Photo. Crossing front vehicle.
  29. Photo. Crossing rear vehicle.
  30. Bar graph. Object detection means for the three age groups.
  31. Bar graph. Mean detection values for each VES for each of the three object groups.
  32. Bar graph. Mean recognition distances for each VES for each of the three object groups.
  33. Bar graph. Mean detection distances for the age main effect for the obstacle group.
  34. Bar graph. Tire and dog mean detection and recognition distances by VES.
  35. Bar graph. Mean detection distances for the Age by VES interaction for pedestrian scenarios.
  36. Bar graph. Mean detection and recognition distances for pedestrians in denim on straight—left and right side.
  37. Bar graph. Mean detection and recognition distances for pedestrian in black on straight—left and right side.
  38. Bar graph. Mean detection distances for bloom scenario, left and right side.
  39. Bar graph. Mean detection and recognition distances for pedestrian far off axis, left and right side.
  40. Bar graph. Mean detection and recognition distances for pedestrian in denim in right turn, left and right side.
  41. Bar graph. Mean detection and recognition distances for pedestrian in denim in left turn, left and right side.
  42. Bar graph. Mean detection and recognition distances for retroreflective object group by VES.
  43. Bar graph. Mean detection distances for the VES by Object interaction for retroreflective group.
  44. Bar graph. Mean recognition distances for VES by Object interaction for retroreflective group.
  45. Bar graph. Arrow detection and recognition distances by VES.
  46. Bar graph. RRPM detection and recognition distances by VES.
  47. Bar graph. Sign detection and recognition distances by VES.
  48. Bar graph. Sign recognition distances of stop versus yield sign by VES.
  49. Bar graph. Mean distances at which speed limit signs were read.
  50. Bar graph. Mean distance at which speed limit signs were read by each age group.
  51. Bar graph. Mean subjective ratings by VES for statement 1: This vision enhancement system allowed me to detect objects sooner than my regular headlights.
  52. Bar graph. Mean subjective ratings by VES for statement 2: This vision enhancement system allowed me to recognize objects sooner than my regular headlights.
  53. Bar graph. Mean subjective ratings by VES for statement 3: This vision enhancement system helped me to stay on the road (not go over the lines) better than my regular headlights.
  54. Bar graph. Mean subjective ratings by VES for statement 4: This vision enhancement system allowed me to see which direction the road was heading (i.e., left, right, straight) beyond my regular headlights.
  55. Bar graph. Mean subjective ratings by VES for statement 5: This vision enhancement system did not cause me any more visual discomfort than my regular headlights.
  56. Bar graph. Mean subjective ratings by VES for statement 6: This vision enhancement system allowed me to read signs beside the road sooner than my regular headlights.
  57. Bar graph. Mean subjective ratings by VES for statement 7: This vision enhancement system makes me feel safer when driving on the roadways at night than my regular headlights.
  58. Bar graph. Mean subjective ratings by VES for statement 8: This is a better vision enhancement system than my regular headlights.
  59. Equation. Braking distance approximation.
  60. Equation. Distance for brake reaction time and braking distance.
  61. Diagram. Detection distance diagram key.
  62. Diagram. HLB mean detection distances.
  63. Diagram. FIR mean detection distances.
  64. Diagram. NIR 1 mean detection distances.
  65. Diagram. NIR 2 mean detection distances.
  66. Diagram. HID 1 mean detection distances.
  67. Diagram. HID 2 mean detection distances.
  68. Bar graph. Mean detection distances of pedestrians for older group with IR versus younger group with HLB.
  69. Bar graph. Mean detection distances for VES by Object (people) interaction, turns only.
  70. Diagram. Comparison of 11.7° and 18° field of view.
  71. Bar graph. Detection distances for VES by Pedestrian Locations interaction, bloom scenarios only.
  72. Bar graph. Detection distances for VES by Pedestrian Scenario interactions: HLB vs. HID 1.
  73. Line graph. Percentage of detection distances insufficient for complete stop for pedestrian scenarios.
  74. Bar graph. Color vision results for the three age groups by response.
  75. Bar graph. Color weak or color blind participants per age group.
  76. Bar graph. Participant visual acuity per age group.
  77. Bar graph. Percentage of contrast for left eye (PCLE) and percentage of contrast for right eye (PCRE) at 1.5 cycles per degree (cpd) per age group.
  78. Bar graph. Percentage of contrast at 3.0 cpd per age group.
  79. Bar graph. Percentage of contrast at 6.0 cpd per age group.
  80. Bar graph. Percentage of contrast at 12.0 cpd per age group.
  81. Bar graph. Percentage of contrast at 18.0 cpd per age group.
  82. Bar graph. Instrument panel brightness setting by age group (headlamp VESs only).
  83. Bar graph. VES by Age interaction for display brightness setting.
  84. Scatter plot. Participant eye position for all vehicles.
  85. Diagram. Eye position measurement locations for all experimental vehicles (forward measure taken from leading edge of B-pillar weather seal).
  86. Scatter plot. Participant eye position for FIR.
  87. Scatter plot. Participant eye position for NIR 1.
  88. Scatter plot. Participant eye position for NIR 2.
  89. Scatter plot. Participant eye position for HLB.
  90. Scatter plot. Participant eye position for HID 1.
  91. Scatter plot. Participant eye position for HID 2.


LIST OF TABLES

  1. Example of the VES order for three participants.
  2. VES configuration details.
  3. The 17 objects used in study.
  4. Object descriptions.
  5. Vehicle scenarios.
  6. Grouping of objects and abbreviations used in this analysis.
  7. Object group ANOVA summary table for the dependent measurement: detection distance.
  8. Object group ANOVA summary table for the dependent measurement: recognition distance.
  9. Summary of significant main effects and interactions for object group analysis.
  10. Obstacle group ANOVA summary table for the dependent measurement: detection distance.
  11. Obstacle group ANOVA summary table for the dependent measurement: recognition distance.
  12. Significant main effects and interactions summary for obstacle object group analysis.
  13. Pedestrian object group ANOVA summary table for the dependent measurement: detection distance.
  14. Pedestrian object group ANOVA summary table for the dependent measurement: recognition distance.
  15. Summary of significant main effects and interactions for pedestrian group analysis.
  16. Retroreflective group ANOVA summary table for the dependent measurement: detection distance.
  17. Retroreflective group ANOVA summary table for the dependent measurement: recognition distance.
  18. Summary of significant main effects and interactions for retroreflective group analysis.
  19. ANOVA summary table for recognition of sign type (stop versus yield).
  20. ANOVA summary table for when participants could read speed limit.
  21. Summary of significant main effects and interactions for the Likert-type scales.
  22. Stopping distances needed for a dry roadway.
  23. Approximation of stopping success for each object for FIR and potential detection inadequacy when compared to stopping distance at various speeds.
  24. Approximation of stopping success for each object for NIR 1 and potential detection inadequacy when compared to stopping distance at various speeds.
  25. Approximation of stopping success for each object for NIR 2 and potential detection inadequacy when compared to stopping distance at various speeds.
  26. Approximation of stopping success for each object for HLB and potential detection inadequacy when compared to stopping distance at various speeds.
  27. Approximation of stopping success for each object for HID 1 and potential detection inadequacy when compared to stopping distance at various speeds.
  28. Approximation of stopping success for each object for HID 2 and potential detection inadequacy when compared to stopping distance at various speeds.
  29. Percentage improvements in detection distance for two comparable pedestrian scenarios.
  30. Comparison of mean detection distances from Phase II to Phase III (current study).
  31. Participant height.
  32. ANOVA summary table for the Likert-type scale on detection.
  33. ANOVA summary table for the Likert-type scale on recognition.
  34. ANOVA summary table for the Likert-type scale on lane-keeping assistance.
  35. ANOVA summary table for the Likert-type scale on roadway direction.
  36. ANOVA summary table for the Likert-type scale on visual discomfort.
  37. ANOVA summary table for the Likert-type scale on reading signs sooner.
  38. ANOVA summary table for the Likert-type scale on overall safety rating.
  39. ANOVA summary table for the Likert-type scale on overall VES evaluation.
  40. Horizontal distances from headlamps for each VES vehicle.
  41. FIR eye position measurements.
  42. NIR 1 eye position measurements.
  43. NIR 2 eye position measurements.
  44. HLB eye position measurements.
  45. HID 1 eye position measurements.
  46. HID 2 eye position measurements.

LIST OF ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS

 

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