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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-145
Date: December 2005

Enhanced Night Visibility Series, Volume XIV: Phase III—Study 2: Comparison of Near Infrared, Far Infrared, and Halogen Headlamps on Object Detection in Nighttime Rain

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In general, in rainy weather driving conditions, the NIR systems were associated with longer detection distances than the baseline HLB and FIR systems for nearly all pedestrian detection scenarios. The only case in which either of the two NIR systems had shorter detection distances was for the pedestrian on the right side of a right curve. The NIR 2 had similar or slightly shorter detection distances for this scenario than both the HLB and the FIR systems, although the differences were not statistically significant. The difference likely results because the pedestrian in that scenario is outside the FOV of the NIR 2 system. All other mean detection distances in pedestrian scenarios for both NIR 1 and NIR 2 were longer than those of the HLB and FIR. Many of the differences, especially for the pedestrians on straight sections of road, were significantly different. Although there were some ranking differences between the VES detection distances for the remaining scenario, the tire tread, the fact that there were no differences between systems was significant. It appears from these results that there is no performance loss between the tested VESs for detecting and recognizing this type of obstacle (a small, low-contrast object). These objective findings are corroborated by the subjective responses of the drivers in this study, and they do not appear to be differentiated by age. Review of the open-ended comments could provide insight into further improvements of the NIR system, including glare reduction and display enhancement.


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