"This technology will definitely be fitted to cars within five years," said Mark McCaughran of Thales Optronics, which is testing the night vision equipment on luxury cars on an MoD base in Surrey.
The military developed system uses infra-red detectors to reveal moving heat-sources - such as cyclists or pedestrians - that dipped headlights do not reveal.
However, those who subscribe to the theory of risk homeostasis believe features designed for enhanced safety instead lead to an increase in accidents ie better car brakes and suspension systems means even dippy drivers can feel confident going fast into corners with the 'intelligent' cars of today compensating for sloppy technique. Today's drivers therefore drive faster into corners than ever before, leading to an increase in accidents.
Kevin Clinton of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, is concerned night vision will be sold as a safety feature but will actually lead to speeds on roads increasing as drivers are lulled into a false sense of security:
"If drivers can see better in the dark will they drive faster?" he told the BBC News.
Average speeds on lit motorways are far higher than those on unlit stretches.