April 2011
Volume 52, Issue 14
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2011
Realistic Simulation of Human Contrast Perception after Exposure to Frontal Headlight Glare in Driving Simulations
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Benjamin Meyer
    Computer Graphics Lab, Braunschweig, Germany
  • Clemens Grunert
    Volkswagen Research, Wolfsburg, Germany
  • Sebastian Thomschke
    Volkswagen Research, Wolfsburg, Germany
  • Mark Gonter
    Volkswagen Research, Wolfsburg, Germany
  • Mark Vollrath
    Department of Engineering and Traffic Psychology, Braunschweig, Germany
  • Marcus Magnor
    Computer Graphics Lab, Braunschweig, Germany
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  Benjamin Meyer, Volkswagen AG (F); Clemens Grunert, Volkswagen AG (E); Sebastian Thomschke, Volkswagen AG (E); Mark Gonter, Volkswagen AG (E); Mark Vollrath, None; Marcus Magnor, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2011, Vol.52, 1919. doi:
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      Benjamin Meyer, Clemens Grunert, Sebastian Thomschke, Mark Gonter, Mark Vollrath, Marcus Magnor; Realistic Simulation of Human Contrast Perception after Exposure to Frontal Headlight Glare in Driving Simulations. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):1919.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Computer-based night driving simulations are used in the automobile industry to evaluate the illumination of the street both for novel lighting functions and the design of new headlights. To be able to draw conclusions from these test results, it is indispensable for the visual quality of the simulation to be perceptually realistic.The aim of this work is to simulate the experience of glare effects in a night driving simulator by adjusting the display contrast according to human perception.


As contrast perception is highly subjective, we performed a psychophysical experiment and reconstructed night driving conditions as authentic as possible. This included background illumination as well as a representative driving situation, permitting realistic driving behavior. The subjects were blinded by a real headlamp and their contrast perception was monitored. Averaging the test results of 18 subjects yielded time response curves of contrast perception, depending on the duration and intensity of the glare. In addition, we determined the minimal perceivable contrast in an illuminated office on the future simulation hardware, exemplary for one fully adapted user. Given our measurements, we are now able to match the histograms of gray values of the visualization to the perceived minimal contrast.


From experimentally determined contrast perception curve, the visualization of the driving simulator is darkened abruptly after a simulated glare to reduce contrast perception. Over time, the visualization is lightened up again, until full contrast perception is restored (see figure).


Our night drive simulator enables us to simulate the re-adaptation of the human visual system after a short glare, without the need to emulate authentic illumination. This allows for the analysis under predefined laboratory conditions of critical traffic situations involving glare effects.  

Keywords: adaptation: pattern • contrast sensitivity • computational modeling 

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