• August 20th, 2014

Drive on a city’s streets at night and you’re guided by artificial lights: glowing traffic signals beckoning you forward, the headlights of a car trailing you, a sign warning of work ahead.

Artificial lights may soon guide your car, too: In the quest for cars that understand the world around them and respond intelligently, a growing number of research engineers are exploring systems that encode signals in LED light.

“We envision car lights transmitting messages that your eyes can’t see,” says Richard Roberts, a research scientist at Intel. “They’re blinking out messages to be used by other automobiles for safety reasons: positioning, collision avoidance, cooperative driving—maybe even someday for autonomous driving.”