Honda expects to have a night vision system, said to make it easier for drivers to see pedestrians and avoid accidents, ready for commercial launch within three years, AutoAsia Online reported.

The website said that Honda’s system uses an infrared camera located in the front grille to detect a pedestrian’s position and direction of movement. It projects an image on the car’s windshield and also gives the driver an audible warning of a possible collision.

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Due to congested conditions and many near-zero visibility suburban intersections in Japanese cities, some car makers already offer an optional ‘see around the corner’ video camera mounted in the vehicle’s nose.

The video signal is transmitted to a dash-mounted video display which, on some models, also serves as a sat-nav and/or TV screen and may also display pictures from a reversing camera mounted in the bootlid, rear tailgate or bumper.

AutoAsia Online said that Honda’s night vision system adjusts its range depending on the car’s speed to give the driver enough time to react.

If the car is driving at 50mph (80km/h), for example, the system scans up to 80 metres (about 90 yards) ahead, the website said.

The report added that about 70% of all traffic accidents occur at night, according to Japanese statistics.

AutoAsia Online said that Honda claims its technology already works very effectively but the next challenge is to reduce the cost of the infrared camera and associated equipment to make the system commercially viable.

General Motors and Ford’s Premier Automobile Group company Jaguar are also known to be developing infra-red night vision systems which would initially be offered as factory options on top models.

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