Vauxhall develops eye-tracking technology

Opel/Vauxhall has announced it is developing its third generation of automotive adaptive lighting, with its new eye-tracking technology.

Opel/Vauxhall has announced a third generation of automotive adaptive lighting, that will be introduced after the current, multi-award-winning AFL+ bi-xenon system, featuring up to 10 lighting functions available in most Opel/Vauxhall models, and Opel/Vauxhall’s LED matrix light that will soon go into series production.

‘We’ve been pursuing this concept of controlling the direction and intensity of light based on where the driver is looking for around two years. The more we understand the benefits of this technology, the more intensively we push ahead with our joint project,’ said Ingolf Schneider, director lighting technology at Opel, describing the collaboration between Opel/Vauxhall’s International Technical Development Center and the Technical University of Darmstadt.

The camera is equipped with peripheral infra-red sensors and central photo-diodes which together enable it to scan the driver’s eyes more than 50 times per second in dusk and night-time conditions. And with much faster data processing and transmission, the headlamp actuators react instantaneously to make both horizontal and vertical adjustments.

In practice, a driver’s eyes very naturally and unconsciously jump from one focal point to another. So if the headlamps were allowed to follow this movement precisely, the vehicle’s light cone would jerk around erratically. ‘To overcome this problem, we have successfully developed a sophisticated delay algorithm which ensures a suitably flowing movement for the light cone,’ said Schneider. ‘Another major benefit is that the eye-tracker doesn’t have to be individually calibrated for a particular driver. The system works perfectly with anyone behind the wheel, no matter what their size.’ Even if the driver is momentarily distracted from looking at the road ahead, lighting is always provided in the direction of travel. That’s because the low beam of the headlamps is programmed to ensure sufficient illumination.

The new feature will be introduced within the next 18 months.