A demonstration of a vision enhancement system for state patrol vehicles

Nicholas J. Ward, Lee Alexander, Pi Ming Cheng, Alec Gorjestani, Bryan Newstrom, Curt Olson, Craig Shankwitz, Walter Trach, Max Donath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In conditions of poor weather and restricted visibility, it is necessary that emergency vehicles (e.g., police, ambulance, snowplows) are still able to operate and respond to critical events in the road environment. This report presents the result of a pilot study designed to evaluate a prototype Vision Enhancement System (VES) intended for use by state patrol vehicles. For this study, visibility was artificially restricted using smoked headlight covers during nighttime driving on a closed test track. The study examined the effect of preview distance and the presence of motion cues in a Head Up Display (HUD). Driving speed and self-reported data were the dependent measures related to safety and vehicle control. Despite the lack of a valid baseline, drivers reported that they felt their driving would be safer with the system than in the (imagined) case of unassisted driving in poor visibility. As a result of the apparent improvement in safety, all officers had a positive attitude toward the system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-185
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Intelligent Transportation Systems: Technology, Planning, and Operations
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) for assistance provided by their personnel in conducting the experiments described here. This project was partially supported by Mn/DOT, the ITS Institute and the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s IVI Program. We also wish to acknowledge the patrol car and drivers provided by the Minnesota State Patrol.

Funding Information:
The study was a prelude to the “Intelligent Vehicle Initiative—Specialty Vehicle Operational Test,” which is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration and the Minnesota Department of Transportation. It was intended to demonstrate the “proof of concept” and acquire preliminary data to evaluate the content of the HUD. As such, it was only equipped for the operation of the demonstrated system and not fully instrumented for complete data acquisition.


  • Head up display
  • ITS
  • Motion
  • Preview distance
  • Vision enhancement


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