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Technical Paper

A Field Study of Distance Perception with Large-Radius Convex Rearview Mirrors

One of the primary reasons that FMVSS 111 currently requires flat rearview mirrors as original equipment on the driver's side of passenger cars is a concern that convex mirrors might reduce safety by causing drivers to overestimate the distances to following vehicles. Several previous studies of the effects of convex rearview mirrors have indicated that they do cause overestimations of distance, but of much lower magnitude than would be expected based on the mirrors' levels of image minification and the resulting visual angles experienced by drivers. Previous studies have investigated mirrors with radiuses of curvature up to 2000 mm. The present empirical study was designed to investigate the effects of mirrors with larger radiuses (up to 8900 mm). Such results are of interest because of the possible use of large radiuses in some aspheric mirror designs, and because of the information they provide about the basic mechanisms by which convex mirrors affect distance perception.
Technical Paper

Benefits of Applying Adaptive Headlighting to the Current U.S. and European Low-Beam Patterns

This analytical study examined the potential benefits of applying two embodiments of adaptive lighting to the U.S. and European low-beam patterns: curve lighting that involves shifting the beam horizontally into the curve, and motorway lighting that involves shifting the beam vertically upward. The curve lighting simulations paired 240-m radius left and right curves with a horizontal shift of 10°, and 80-m radius curves with a horizontal beam shift of 15°. The motorway lighting simulations involved upward aim shifts of 0.25° and 0.5°. For both curve and motorway lighting, changes in both seeing and glare illuminance were considered. Market-weighted model year 2000 U.S. and European beam patterns were used. We conclude that curve lighting, as simulated here, would substantially improve seeing performance on curves for both types of beams. On right curves (but not on left curves) there would be an increase in disability glare for oncoming traffic.
Technical Paper

Driving with HID Headlamps: A Review of Research Findings

High-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps have several advantages over tungsten-halogen headlamps, including greater light efficiency (lumens per watt) and longer life. However, from the safety point of view, the primary attraction of HID headlamps is that, because they produce more total light, they have the potential to provide more useful illumination to the driver. At the same time, there are concerns with the effects of HID illumination on perception of the colors of important objects and glare to oncoming traffic. This paper reviews research evidence that we have accumulated over the past 14 years concerning the potential benefits and drawbacks associated with the use of HID headlighting. We conclude that the evidence strongly supports the use of well-designed HID headlamps.
Technical Paper

The Roles of Camera-Based Rear Vision Systems and Object-Detection Systems: Inferences from Crash Data

Advances in electronic countermeasures for lane-change crashes, including both camera-based rear vision systems and object-detection systems, have provided more options for meeting driver needs than were previously available with rearview mirrors. To some extent, human factors principles can be used to determine what countermeasures would best meet driver needs. However, it is also important to examine sets of crash data as closely as possible for the information they may provide. We review previous analyses of crash data and attempt to reconcile the implications of these analyses with each other as well as with general human factors principles. We argue that the data seem to indicate that the contribution of blind zones to lane-change crashes is substantial.