Automotive Night Vision

What Is Car Night Vision?

A car night vision system is a modern technology in vehicles. Checking your owner manual should be the first step here if you’re unsure your car has it. The system functions through the use of a sensor which can “see” farther than you can at night, even with the aid of your headlights. 

This sensor can detect and differentiate if a certain object is static, in movement, or even alive (many newer infrared systems use hot spot detection to determine an object’s nature), and give you a warning ahead of time if danger is imminent. As you can tell, this can be extremely helpful in many cases, as you can’t always be sure that the road ahead is safe at night.

car night vision

But Does My Vehicle Have It?

Automotive night vision is a newer addition to modern cars, and broadly speaking, still an optional feature. The quickest way to determine if your particular vehicle is equipped with it is by checking your owner manual. 

Of course, alternatively, have a quick look at your dashboard, since the thermal and infrared sensors that the system uses display the images in a screen. In turn, the screen can be in your dashboard, as mentioned, or even in the center console. 

The sensors which transmit these signals are mounted in your vehicle’s grille, typically speaking. 

HUD integration

If you also happen to have a heads-up display, there’s a good chance that you can integrate the two systems together, and allow your car night vision sensor to project the images straight on your windshield. This helps keep your eyes on the road at all times, and HUDs are thought of in such a way that they do not interfere with your visibility of what’s ahead in any way, shape, or form.

In fact, they clearly outline other vehicles for you, as well as potential dangers like deer or other wild animals. Both the information relayed to you by the night vision system, as well as the HUD overall, are controllable through the car’s on-board computer.

night vision system

The Two Types Of Automotive Night Vision

Regardless of the type of implementation that you’re benefiting from during your driving experience, know that night vision systems share the same principle. By taking in inputs like IR waves through thermographic sensors, they calculate the distance between your vehicle and other objects, inanimate or alive.

This is especially helpful if you’re driving in unfavorable weather conditions, such as heavy fog, rain, or snow. Through these warnings, you can know ahead of time if you should brake or perform an evasive maneuver. 

Active car night vision

While this type of technology focuses on shorter distances, what’s ahead of you is displayed clearer. The images are more lifelike, with roads and buildings being more clearly outlined, but only if within the IR spectrum. On average, its intended working range is 600 feet.

Passive car night vision

If you’d rather know what’s more ahead of you, but in lower clarity, then a vehicle equipped with passive night vision is for you. This one can go up to 1,000 feet, and it’s actually the more common of the two, because its unreliable only in temperatures above 98 Fahrenheit. 

Can The Sensor Be Damaged?

Unfortunately, yes. While its mounting depends on your car’s make and model, it isn’t especially protected. For example, if it’s on your windshield, and the windshield gets cracked or chipped, then you need to let our professional auto glass technician know about your automotive night vision system ahead of time. 

That’s because this is an important piece of information when performing a certified windshield repair or windshield replacement. Should you be in need of such services, give our friendly customer care team a call at (480) 525-6554.