Apple developing headlights that highlight road hazards


Apple headlight system patent to detect hazards

Apple headlight system patent to detect hazards

Apple has filed to patent another automotive system. This one involves headlights and provides drivers with more information to help keep them safe.

Called the "System and Method for Light and Image Projection," the system imagines a few ways to give drivers a better idea of the road ahead by marking road hazards and other important items. The United States Patent and Trademark Office published the patent on Thursday and Apple Insider reported the visual system could incorporate a car's windshield, too.

One of the system's ways of accomplishing its goal is with the headlights alone. The system would analyze data and highlight points of interest on the road with the car's headlights. The process could include an "illuminated indicator" showing where the object is moving to and what the hazard in question is. The patent describes how the system could also ensure everything in the road is properly lit by controlling contrast. Apple said some items may reflect more light or outside factors may obstruct the amount of illumination.

Thus, the system could incorporate multiple levels of illumination to evenly light the road ahead; dark areas would see more light, while well-lit parts of the road would require less illumination. Each implementation relies on vehicle sensors detecting objects and possible hazards ahead and feeding the information to the system for analysis.

A final system implementation could work in conjunction with the solutions described above or on its own. Apple said notifications could be overlaid in a head-up display to give the driver more information. The company also (humorously) suggested helmets to provide the information to the driver. If there's not enough light for a particular scenario, the system could alert drivers and highlight hazards in the road that the driver cannot see. For example, the system could identify a pedestrian with dots marking his or her movements ahead.

The futuristic lighting system joins a host of recent Apple patents, including nifty sunroof technology and haptic-feedback seats.

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