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High Beaming

In certain driving situations, high beams can improve visibility enormously. But many drivers don’t bother to use them, in part because they must frequently turn them on and off. Gentex, a Zeeland, MI-based supplier of glare-reducing rear view mirrors, is trying to right this wrong. The company has begun integrating into its mirrors a pea-sized camera-on-a-chip that automates the task of turning high beams on and off. The smart camera, mounted on the windshield side of the rear view mirror, monitors and analyzes the lighting conditions on the road ahead. High beams are switched on by default, but turned off when the camera sees oncoming headlights or the taillights of a car being closely followed. Ford Motor’s Lincoln division has ordered the mirrors for installation in its 2004 model cars.

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