WASHINGTON, DC—A new report from the Optical Society of America (OSA) and SPIE—The International Society for Optical Engineering outlines opportunities for optics and photonics in the transportation industry. The report, Riding on Light: Optical Technology for Transportation Challenges, is the result of the Workshop on Optics and Photonics for Transportation and Infrastructure, co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Commerce, OSA, and SPIE, in Washington, DC, in December 2003. That meeting brought together transportation and optics experts to examine challenges in transportation and consider potential technological solutions utilizing light.
The report contains several recommendations for facilitating the deployment of optics and photonics technologies: leverage previous federal investments in technology, invest in research, set "stretch" goals for the research community, provide incentives to create solutions, and increase education in and awareness of optics and photonics. In addition, the report identifies a number of application areas in which optics and photonics technologies can and could potentially contribute, including:
- Synthetic vision: Displays substituted for windshields.
- Biometrics: Optical scanning of irises, faces, or fingerprints.
- Chemical/biological/combustion measurement and detection: Spectral monitoring of gases, liquids, and aerosols.
- Infrared sensing: Infrared night vision to detect warm-blooded roadway hazards or nighttime intruders.
- Fiberoptics: High-bandwidth communications for intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and drive-by-light; sensors for sound, stress, and nuclear radiation.
- Lighting and reflectivity: Intelligent, efficient lighting, using photocells, solar panels, and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), aided by reflective paints and coatings.
- Sterilizing: Ultraviolet light to kill or render inviable organisms in ballast water.
The report is available for download at www.jaop.org.