New Polarization Camera Illuminates Foggy Streets for Self-Driving Cars

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created a new type of camera, inspired by mantis shrimp vision, that could greatly improve the ability of cars to detect hazards in challenging image conditions. The research was published in the Optical Society's journal Optica . In this video, the researchers recorded a street scene viewed through a digital camera that records in grayscale (on the left), and through two polarization cameras. These two views look slightly different because one shows the amount of light polarization (middle) and the other shows the angle of polarization (right). Images from both polarization cameras pick up a higher level of detail than the grayscale camera - bringing other cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians more clearly into view.