Tuesday, 22 November 2016

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The VISION 2016 Congress and Expo was bigger than ever before: nearly 600 people attended. This year a new venue replaced the redoubtable Versailles location—the Cité des Sciences, right in Paris. There was also a new venue, Mortefontaine, for 27 demonstrator cars this year to show off innovations and implementations for those VISION attendees who participated in the nighttime ride-alongs.

Lectures covered a wide array of different lighting-related topics—the expanding frontiers of front and rear lighting technology and technique, new and complicated developments in simulation, testing, and ranking. Also well covered: the urgent need and burgeoning possibilities for whole, entire new kinds of car lights. What's a pedestrian, accustomed to making eye contact with a human driver before crossing the street in front of the car, to do when there's no human driver? The autonomous car must be able to signal to the pedestrian "I see you, and it's safe for you to cross now". And that's only one example of numerous new machine-to-human messages that must be conveyable with light in ways that are universally understood, unambiguous, and inoffensive across the world's very diverse cultures. Heuristics for sifting useful strategies from thousands of ideas were presented, as were experiments with a variety of strategies for machine-to-human communication with light.

Rear lighting, too, was a hot topic. The development and manufacture of the world's first production OLED taillamp was presented in picayune detail across several lectures, as were new ideas including LCD displays to add graphic messaging display capabilities to combination rear lamps.

New kinds of augmented-vision systems were presented; Israel continues to be an interesting hot spot for development of this kind of technology. Several lectures presented comparisons of different wavelength bands (near infrared, far infrared, etc) for helping drivers see better.

Lasers, too, got a great deal of attention, with very intricate micromirror prototypes and new strategies to blend LED and laser light for high efficiency presented and discussed. Other unconventional new technologies included a new kind of driving glasses that sharply reduce headlamp glare without cutting down on the driver's use of his own lights, new ADB strategies, a dual-path tapdance around the age-old inefficiencies of polarised light for headlamp applications, and more.

The exposition portion of the congress comprised a large variety of companies showing off their products and services, and the pre-event and first-night dinners afforded ample opportunity for friendly and informative discussions amongst attendees.

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