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Homemade Car IR Night Vision ? Answered

I am a retired guy with less than perfect night vision. I have installed a LED Backup camera and portable display in my Camry and wonder how hard it would be to do the same only looking foreward.

Ebay has a lot of IR cameras that include IR Light LEDs. Shouldn't I be able to connect one to my monitor to get some extra driving safety?

Of course, everything is possible to the guy who doesn't know how to do it! Thanks in advance.. Here is an article from a BMW site I think.............

"...In 2000, General Motors offered a thermal night-vision system in its Cadillac line of vehicles. The system was innovative, but it was also expensive and didn't produce very clear images. Toyota also gave night vision a shot, and even now the automaker continues to offer an in-dash system in some Lexus models. The Lexus system has its fans, but if it's so effective, then why hasn't this technology spread to every vehicle on the road? One theory is that it seems as if the technology just isn't fully ready for automotive applications. Not yet, anyway. As you can imagine, night-vision technology is expensive and if you use inexpensive components, the quality simply won't be there.

 Two of Germany's automotive stalwarts, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, have taken a damn-the-torpedoes approach to in-dash night-vision systems. These two auto manufacturers have been offering night-vision systems in vehicles since 2006..."


Re, night vision for cars, for some time now I have considered doing this to my car, I have a VW Bora, with a large VW logo in the front grill, I removed this logo and in the circular space left I fitted a forward looking dome camera with a ring of infra red led's round the lens, then on the cars dashboard I fitted a seven inch led screen, the system is switched via the cars lighting system. I can tell you the system works really well, it cost less than £40 to buy, and when night driving on "dip" headlights the system can "see" further up the road better than I can, very pleased with the way it works and well worth the effort in trying it out as an experiment.

vw bora.jpg20150316_165449.jpg

You really want better headlights I think.
Night vision systems can use Infra-red (expensive), or image intensification (expensive). Floodlighting with IR isn't going to be much better than adding more visible lights. If you've done it with the back-up you'll know how easy/hard that is, but more importantly what it's range is - not that far I guess?


Not true, an IR LED bank would be relatively inexpensive to make and would be a quite effective illumination device. The problem will always be the range of the lights; also you can't use very high intensity IR light because it can still damage the eyes the same as normal bright light.

No it wouldn't be quite effective at all.  Even if you have sophisticated sensors to pick up the light you still have the issue of looking at the display screen in the vehicle which, due to needing a fair level of brightness itself to make it very visible to the human eye, will cause even more night blindness when trying to see outside the vehicle.

VERY bad advice, please think about others' safety as this is potentially life and death we're talking about if it causes an accident.

That shouldn't be much of an issue if you use an OLED screen in the cabin and keep the brightness low. Optimally would be a HUD I suppose.

It was the range I was thinking of.


you do simply need a forward facing ir sensitive camera, and a load of ir lights


7 years ago


Check out those two companies. The first one is the manufacturer and the second one is a distributor for the automotive side of the house. A flir system for a car is about $3500 from that company.

I know you were asking about home made but it might show at least the ability a bit better.

AC-DC I think the display would be dim enough at night not to affect night vision too much. Much less then on coming high beams or street lamps.
After all this is used in government helicopters running totally dark to track, record evidence and capture bad guys. The biggest issue would be figuring out a way to place the monitor as not to be a distraction but an aide to driving at night. The windshield being a much bigger viewpoint to what is in front of you then a bity monitor. It could be handy for a passenger to be able to help alert what is ahead since it will see better then the best headlights in a storm or bad lighting situation. For example oncoming headlights from a car, on a lit street then you have a blind spot that has no lighting just past the car where someone might be walking. The flir can see them.

Any "IR" camera off Ebay you would have to verify it was only IR and not the ones that flip back and forth between IR and visible light when it is available. A lot of security cameras can do that. They have IR illumination when there isn't any visible light but they switch back to normal color mode when it becomes light enough. Those types wouldn't work in that application as it would effectively see only what you can see when not in IR mode. An example of one that wouldn't be affected would be a license plate camera as this is needs to ignored visible light to be able to read license plates that are mounted on the front of cars in some states. Also the IR illuminates must places quite well.

It might just be a filter needed to do so but that part I've forgotten from the presentation I was at. In the end this would definitely not replace looking out the windshield and driving safely but it could be an aide to look farther down the road and avoid problems before you get there. Like in northern states with moose whose eyes do NOT reflect light.