Night and Fog Penetrating Vision Systems

A derivative of the work with Ford Motor Co. on laser-based lighting systems has been a series of night and fog penetrating vision systems for vehicles and security surveillance. TIG works with Ford and licensees of TIG/Ford developed technology to develop and build illuminators and total vision systems using a variety of laser-based technologies.

One example is described in Case History #5. It makes use of the laser’s excellent optical characteristics and its extremely narrow wavelength spread to see in very dark areas where strong lights such as headlights cause glare. Another technology is to use lasers to generating very short pulses of light together with extremely fast electronic cameras to eliminate backscatter from fog, snow or rain. This allows the viewer to see through such obscurants. An example is shown in the photos below taken in a blinding snowstorm. The picture on the left is as seen with only headlights. The picture on the right is as seen with a pulsed system

Headlights only
Pulsed illumination

These technologies have been applied in numerous vehicular and security applications by Ford and a number of licensees and have received worldwide recognition. (See news clips) A Ford vehicle equipped with one of these systems was chosen as the Grand Prize Winner in its class in the Popular Science 2003 “Best of What’s New” award program. A joint program with Ford and the Office of Naval Research, as implemented by TIG, has become a showpiece of integration of industrial and military development. Ford personnel and suppliers have received a number of internal awards and patents in these areas.