Snow Puts More Drivers & Pedestrians at Risk Every Year

NHTSA recently released a report revealing that the number of fatalities in the first nine months of 2021 rose at a record pace, reaching 31,720 deaths by September. 

These numbers were especially high during the colder months. A report released by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) revealed that close to 7,600 people are injured, and almost 900 are killed annually in the US in vehicle crashes that occur during snow or sleet. 

Decreased visibility in snow, hail, and rain poses a significant risk to drivers braving the roads, as well as pedestrians. Even the glare from falling snow creates hazardous backscatter, impairing drivers' visibility.

Existing Solutions

Driving when it’s snowing is a tiring and demanding task, and even more so during nighttime.

ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) are designed to provide drivers with early warnings or brake the vehicle, but they are limited in low visibility or snowy conditions. As a result, they often fail to provide adequate image consistency to ensure environmental detection and the safety of drivers and VRUs (vulnerable road users). 

The GatedVision Camera System 

Bright Way Vision's GatedVision solution, VISDOM, is a camera system that provides a clear image in all weather and lighting conditions. VISDOM enables safe driving in all weather, complete darkness, and their combinations. 

GatedVision vs. Other Sensors/Cameras

As seen in the below video, the average camera system becomes seriously impaired when backscatter returns directly to the driver’s eye or the ADAS camera due to the headlights reflecting off the snow. The glare blinds the camera, resulting in an unclear image and making the path ahead invisible to the driver and camera. GatedVision overcomes this issue by creating an image consisting of slices where the amount of light in each slice is optimized to prevent backscatter. The slices are combined into one image, allowing the camera to “see through the snow” and gain a clearer image at further distances.

Standard camera systems become ineffective in snowy weather as light reflects off the snowflakes, causing backscatter and an unclear image. 

Even on clear nights, the visible-light camera has trouble locating objects accurately when the road is not well lit. GatedVision clearly shows both the pedestrians and their precise location relative to the road, allowing drivers and vehicle perception AIs to easily and safely navigate populated areas and identify all obstacles in any lighting conditions.

GatedVision (top) vs. an HDR visible-light camera (bottom) in a school parking lot.

Solutions such as thermal cameras may show obstacles in a vehicle's path if there is a temperature and emissivity difference, but they fail to provide a clear image in overcast weather and precipitation. Additionally, thermal cameras have difficulty identifying details of objects at the same temperature as the environment, which means that fallen cargo, vegetation, or inanimate objects on the road become a serious challenge to detect. 

Overcast weather, fog, rain, and snow highly impact the performance of thermal cameras. At low temperatures, thermal cameras can’t identify details of objects without significant temperature differences, which might be hazardous to drivers—for example, trees on the road shoulders and even snow piles on the pathway. 

>> Click here to download the new white paper to see why VISDOM is essential in every automotive sensor suite today.

Related Posts