What is night vision assist and how is it worth your money? Well after surveys and studies it
was discovered that more accidents occur at night although less driving is done at night. Night vision
assist is a feature on high end vehicles that allow you to see pedestrians and hazards while you're
driving at night or any low lighting condition.
Once the night vision assist is activated the in dash display changes the view to now
display what is being picked up by the night vision assist camera. Considering that a pedestrian
or hazard will be small on the display compared to if you saw it through the windshield most systems
uses a bright indicator symbol to alert you as you drive.
Night vision assist increases your safety at night by increasing your vision in some
cases by more than twice the distance illuminated by the headlamps.
Some systems will also allow you to see through fog and/or smoke. This night vision technology
has been used actively on high end vehicles since 2006 but has been around before that, as far
back as 2001.
How the night vision assist works is by using an infrared camera which is visible but
is integrated into the design of the front of vehicle and an in-dash screen to display the night
vision to the driver. This system known by different names by the various automotive marques has
to be activated using a switch or from the menu.
Infrared which is the technology responsible for night vision assist is invisible to the
human eye but has a longer and wider span than your headlamps. Infrared can be broken down into
sub technologies, two of these technologies are near infrared (NIR) and far infrared (FIR).
The two sub technologies have their differences as I will now explain. Near infrared can take
a small stream of light and use it for it's display. It boasts of a more colourful display and it can
easily distinguish hazzards that doesn't give off heat as a fallen tree or dead animal. The drawback
of near infrared is it's range which can be less than 200 metres and near infrared will almost be
ineffective in smoke or fog.
Far infrared uses heat to detect hazards. It has a longer range of approximately 300 metres
so you're able to detect pedestrians or hazards earlier. Far infrared will also have approximately
the same effectiveness while driving through smoke or fog. The drawbacks will be the display which is
a black and white display, not as good as the near infrared but good enough and it will not distinguish
dead animals or fallen trees as easily.
Night vision assist does enhance your safety while you're driving in your high end vehicle and
it is known by different names by various automotive marques but night vision assist is a feature that's
making its presence felt in the industry.