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'Virtual Windshield' Makes Passing Easier By Making Cars Transparent

 

Invisible vehicles sound cool, but unless you're Wonder Woman or James Bond, they're an impossibility.

Or are they?

A new safety system equips cars with a "virtual windshield" that allows drivers to see through other vehicles to eliminate blind spots while passing.

The See Through System (STS) uses low-latency video streaming and dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) to project images of the road ahead, even when the driver's view is blocked.

STS' developers say the technologies help eliminate blind spots caused by large vehicles like buses and trucks. No one likes to sit behind them, but their bulk makes it hard to judge whether passing is a good idea.

The system uses cameras mounted on the front of a vehicle to record video of what's happening. That video is transmitted to following vehicles through DSRC, a Wi-Fi-like communications medium that's also being used in prototype Car 2 Car communications systems.

A transparent screen is mounted in front of the driver of the following car, allowing the driver to "see" through the vehicle in front. In the future, STS' developers say the screen could be seamlessly integrated with a car's windshield, creating an augmented-reality view.

The "virtual windshield" has a lot in common with the Car 2 Car communication systems being developed by car makers like BMW, Mazda, and Mercedes-Benz.

Like this new system, Car 2 Car uses DSRC to allow vehicles to send and receive information. So far, though, applications have focused on using that information to send audible and visual warnings to the driver. Showing said driver what's actually happening is a new wrinkle, though

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