According to the World Health Organisation, road traffic accidents are on track to becoming the seventh leading cause of death globally by 2030 unless some action is taken. More than 1.25 million people die each year as a result of road accidents.
Some 50% of these deaths occur at night, even though just 25% of drivers are on the road at that time, meaning that in the dark, under more difficult lighting conditions, driving is four times more dangerous than driving during the day.
An Israeli startup, BrightWay Vision, has set out to change those statistics using night-vision technology that was initially developed at Elbit Systems Ltd., the nation’s largest non-government owned defence company. The startup has developed a system that extends the vision range of drivers, or the autonomous vehicles of the future, in all weather and lighting conditions.
The Tirat Carmel, Israel-based startup, set up in 2011, has developed a vision technology that the company says can help cut back on the number of accidents that occur as a result of poor visibility on the roads, low lighting, glare from rain and snow, and approaching headlights.
The system — which uses a so-called gated vision technology — includes a camera with a chip that is placed on the windshield, behind the rear-view mirror. At the front of the car — within one of the light sources, an infra-red wave is placed, that constantly scans the surroundings and interacts with the camera. By continuously switching on and off, the camera controls the intensity of the light and the range of vision.
The company, which comprises scientists and engineers, says its technology can be either used as a standalone, integrated into cars but can also be integrated into other existing advanced driver-assisted solutions and automated driver-assisted solutions.
A screen within the car shows the driver images that the car’s computer is receiving, allowing drivers to identify objects and people that the human eye otherwise would not be able to see — like pedestrians or, in Israel, camels on the side of a dark road in the Negev. It also automatically flags potential dangers.