The annual Vehicle Displays & Interfaces Symposium is just around the corner and Rain Technology is providing select show-goers a sneak peek at a revolutionary new technology that promises better protection of pedestrians and drivers. The company has already introduced enabling technology for distraction-free infotainment displays earlier this year.
At this upcoming event aimed at the automotive industry, Rain’s focus is on optics for headlights. Their mission: automate vehicle headlights to adjust the shape of the light beam to improve the visibility for drivers when interacting with other road users. Their solution: Anamorphic-XR Waveguide Technology, which will be shown to interested OEMs as a working technology demonstrator at Vehicle Displays & Interfaces Conference at Huntington Place in downtown Detroit on September 26 and 27, 2023. Tabletop #905.
Developed exclusively by Rain, Anamorphic-XR Waveguide Technology integrates a low-profile, low-output aperture imaging optic to an existing ADB (Adaptive Driving Beam) lighting system. Together, a combination of LEDs and anamorphic reflective surfaces produces an array of individually switchable beamlets that can be programmed to produce accurate beam shaping, dynamically adapted to the surrounding environment.
For example, should a driver encounter an oncoming vehicle at night, the system shines the light around the oncoming car, not directly at it, as would the high beams of a typical car headlight. Sure, in this scenario the headlights could be switched to low beams to prevent dazzling the driver of the oncoming car. Unfortunately, this strategy limits what can be seen by the driver in the distance, such as pedestrians —making it neither effective nor safe. “Our approach solves both issues, enabling the driver to clearly see what’s beyond the oncoming car without shining light directly into the eyes of the oncoming driver,” explains Rain Technology CEO Dr. Robert Ramsey.
“Ensuring vehicle safety for both drivers and pedestrians are huge concerns, and car manufacturers have acknowledged smart, beam-adaptive headlights as an effective tool. In fact, after seeing our distraction-free in-car display, many car manufacturers started to ask about what we can do to improve headlights,” says Ramsey. “The market is ready for this next step, and so are we.” Given Rain’s expertise in controlling light for greater e-privacy on laptop computers, the development of IP (intellectual property) that controls the direction of light in car headlights was a natural progression.
Some car manufacturers are already starting to adopt similar beam adaptive solutions, Ramsey acknowledges, some using mechanical parts, and some using conventional optics with two-dimensional LED arrays. “Our Anamorphic Waveguide Technology offers greater light efficiency and manufacturability due to its solid-state composition and very small form factor. As we do with our other optics and waveguide solutions for displays, we supply automotive OEMs interested in our Anamorphic-XR Waveguide Technology a substantial IP portfolio including waveguides, microLED manufacturing, miniLEDs and optical systems—all enabling easy integration, fast entry to market. The prospects for a small headlight that can do an amazing amount of work have never been brighter!”
Indeed, a next step for OEMs would be integrating Rain’s technology with a car’s adaptive driving sensor system. “Smart, beam-adaptive headlights offer OEMs yet one more way to differentiate their product lines while addressing a real issue—vehicle safety.” Ramsey remarks. Rain’s next-generation optics can help drive this transformative concept to fruition. Backed by a proven track record of delivering high-volume display products to world-leading consumer electronics brands through its supply chain development and engineering capabilities, Rain is well-positioned to help bring better, safer driving to the masses.