Honda Motor Co. says it took eight years to develop the safety technology it calls Intelligent Night Vision.
The system reached Japan on Oct. 7 with the launch of the redesigned Honda Legend sedan. The Legend is the twin of the Acura RL. But Honda (Honda.com) says it has no plans to bring Intelligent Night Vision to the United States.
Honda says it designed the system to prevent nighttime accidents involving pedestrians. But that is not a big problem in the United States.
The system has limits. For example, it would not work in some areas of the United States for a good part of the year. The system will not function if the temperature rises above 30 degrees Celsius, or 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and it will not detect objects that are smaller than about 3 feet tall.
Honda designed the system with Raytheon Co. (Raytheon.com). Raytheon also worked with General Motors to develop a night vision system that has been a slow seller in the United States for the past four years. But Honda says there are big differences between the two systems.
The biggest difference is that the Honda system uses two infrared cameras under the headlights to sense infrared heat-emitting objects. When it identifies pedestrians in the vehicle's path, it makes a warning sound and projects an orange square around the image on a screen that pops out of the instrument panel.
The system sold in the United States, which is available on the Cadillac DeVille sedan, uses only one camera and a head-up display. The camera detects heat-emitting objects as much as 500 yards ahead of the car - beyond the range of headlights - and projects the image onto the lower left portion of the windshield.
Intelligent Night Vision on the Honda Legend is a $5,250 option.
Honda says its system can detect objects between about 98 feet and 262 feet in front of the car. But if it detects an object closer than 98 feet, the system will not sound a warning. Honda says a driver would be able to see closer objects using the car's headlights.
Intelligent Night Vision is a $5,250 option.
You may e-mail Yuzo Yamaguchi at [email protected]