North Carolina Patent of the Month – September 2023

Event Capture Systems, Inc., a software company, is working to address a critical need for safe and efficient driving in all weather conditions. Their solution is a headlight control solution that works for both autonomous and human-driven vehicles.

Most semi-autonomous vehicles have implemented complex camera systems for use in navigation and obstacle avoidance. Headlights are essential to these cameras achieving adequate frame rates and resolution. Unfortunately, weather has a great impact on these systems. Rain, snow, and fog can all block these cameras’ ability to “see”. While infrared (IR) lighting can help these cameras, they do not provide adequate lighting for human drivers. Event Capture Systems’ solution provides a single solution for both challenges. 

This system utilizes a combination of advanced control outputs, illumination sources, and camera-based monitoring to enhance visibility and safety on the road. This design has two two illumination sources, each serving a distinct purpose. The first source provides a specific frequency band of illumination optimized for machine vision navigation, while the second source offers illumination suitable for human drivers. These sources are carefully designed to cater to the unique needs of both machine and human perception.

To ensure effective and efficient illumination, the system incorporates a camera system that continuously monitors ambient illumination conditions. This real-time data is based on non-illumination cycle times, allowing the system to gauge the probability of the first illumination source’s effectiveness.

Key Features and Benefits

  1. Mutually Exclusive Cycles: The first active cycle times for machine vision navigation, the second active cycle times for human drivers, and non-illumination cycle times are mutually exclusive. This ensures that the illumination system operates seamlessly, transitioning between modes as needed.
  2. Standardized Vehicle Headlight Assembly: Both illumination sources and the camera system are conveniently housed within a standardized vehicle headlight assembly. This integration ensures a compact and practical solution.
  3. Adaptive Illumination: The system adapts to synchronization information from the vehicle management system, allowing it to optimize illumination based on driving conditions.
  4. Efficient Lumen Levels: Both illumination sources provide lumen levels between 3500 and 7500 lumens, striking a balance between brightness and energy efficiency.
  5. Wavelength-Centered Illumination: The system provides a specific frequency band of illumination, centered between 820 nanometers and 880 nanometers for machine vision and between 380 nanometers and 740 nanometers for human vision.
  6. Variable Intensity Control: Intensity levels of both illumination sources can be controlled, offering flexibility in adjusting brightness.
  7. Real-time Camera Monitoring: The system constantly monitors camera exposure times and frame rates, ensuring optimal illumination during active exposure intervals.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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