- Sometimes even with the best of headlights, it’s impossible to see everything at night.
- A new product called NightRide uses advanced infrared technology to help drivers see after dark.
- The NightRide unit comes with two different displays, including a “fighter pilot” style heads-up display.
There’s no doubt about it. Driving at night is risky business. Throw in visually-impaired drivers, fatigue from the long work day, and rush hour traffic and the odds are further against you. In fact, the National Safety Council finds that 50 percent of traffic deaths happen at night. The developers of NightRide considered statistics like these when they went to work on the innovative plug-and-play device that utilizes far-wave military-grade infrared technology.
NightRide is essentially a thermal camera that allows drivers to see well beyond the range of standard headlights, providing additional visibility in darkness and during severe weather. The unit is designed to detect things like deer, pedestrians, and black ice at night, and during rainy, foggy, and snowy conditions.
“The driving force behind NightRide is our desire to empower people to drive at night with total peace of mind,” said Shawn Groce, Founder of Wesa, the company behind NightRide. “Collisions with animals are costing Americans $1 billion each year.”
Infrared-Based Night Vision System
Unlike conventional night vision systems that magnify small amounts of ambient light, NightRide can operate in total darkness by using thermal infrared technology. Infrared measures the amount of heat emitted by people or objects to create a visual image of the objects ahead. Groce believes this gives drivers an advantage during the night.
“According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, regular headlights can only help drivers see up to a maximum of 160 feet ahead. Most of the time, this is insufficient to see the road and to make decisions to avoid accidents that lead to injury or death,” he explained. “But since NightRide helps drivers see up to four times further than headlights, and can see beyond rain, snow, and fog, the risk of hitting someone or having an accident is significantly reduced.”
Long-Range Durability & Visibility
The thermal camera within the NightRide unit can withstand changing temperatures and harsh weather, a hallmark of its design. The actual camera housing is hermetically-sealed and rated at IP69 for environmental protection. And in order to operate flawlessly in both hot and cold conditions, the camera sensor is temperature-controlled.
The company says the unit is meant for use in inclement weather and was designed accordingly.
NightRide extends the visibility of common nighttime hazards up to 600 feet. In terms of driving in snow or fog, every inch of visibility makes a huge difference. To sum it up, NightRide’s technology is about providing an added buffer in order to reduce a nighttime collision.
How It Works
Night vision for cars is nothing new. In fact, high-end BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Cadillac vehicles are currently offering their own versions of night vision as an option. Ticking the box for the Mercedes Night View Assist PLUS in an S-Class sedan will cost upwards of $2,200. It’s basically the same deal with a BMW or Cadillac. However, the brains behind NightRide were looking for a more cost-effective solution; one that fits every type of car on the road.
“The most daunting challenge in developing NightRide was to make it affordable and easy to install,” Groce said. “NightRide is plug-and-play and self-installable in a matter of minutes.”
The NightRide unit mounts cleanly on the hood, near the base of the windshield, using an anti-theft mounting bracket. The unit grabs power directly via a wired connection to the car’s battery.
“And it is cheaper than most smartphones on the market today,” Groce added.
Fighter Pilot Display
Drivers can choose between two different displays, depending on their preferences. The first is an engaging, fighter-pilot-style heads-up display. This allows you to view the night vision images from the console display on the windshield itself. The next option is to affix the display console on the windshield using a suction mount. Equipment for both options of the display are ready to go, right out of the box.
Pricing & Availability
NightRide is available for a limited time at the discounted price of $795 with a $50 pre-order deposit. Initial shipments begin in June. For more information about NightRide, see their comprehensive FAQ page.
Alvin Reyes is the Associate Editor of Automoblog. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.