Car headlights of the future won't blind other drivers

Carnegie Mellon's work on headlights has made an appearance here before, where it's near-future smart headlights would parse raindrops and 'cancel' them out, projecting light around the rain drops, substantially improving visibility. But that's just one of many tricks that the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute's smart headlights are now capable of. The newest iteration's feedback system continuously looks at what your headlights are doing, processing and thinking about how to shine better. To start, the system detects vehicles headed towards the car and disables the range of light that's directed at the oncoming driver, even on high-beam settings.

Future work, reported in the Scientific American, will attempt to add GPS data that will adjust the direction of headlights, illuminating the route you're heading on, making your lane appear brighter than the others. The new system, apparently the size of a smaller footlocker, can also detect and track obstacles traveling up to 80 kph, like an errant deer as close as five meters from the headlights, although how this gets parsed (whether it would activate an auto-breaking system or something else) would depend on car manufacturers themselves if they decide to integrate something similar. For now -- and for a few more years -- these headlights are likely to remain research prototypes.