Everyone’s safety is at the heart of the lighting technologies that Ford is presently developing. Night driving, especially in unlighted streets, can be less worrisome if drivers can easily detect potential hazards such as animals, cyclists, and pedestrians. Threats that are not in the direction of travel will be illuminated with Ford’s Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting System. It makes the beam wider at junctions and roundabouts.
Then there’s the New Spot Lighting technology, which aids in drawing the driver’s focus on pedestrians, cyclists and animals that are in the path or slightly off the road. Ken Washington, vice president, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, said that many of those who drive at night have had to immediately react to a person or an animal that makes a sudden appearance on the road.
He believes that with the Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting System and Spot Lighting from Ford, the driver is alerted just in time to react appropriately to these threats. Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting System represents an improvement over Ford’s Adaptive Front Lighting System and Traffic Sign Recognition, which Ford is already offering.
The automaker wants drivers to have better visibility at roundabouts, stop, and give way or yield signs. This system makes use of GPS information so that it can do a better job of illuminating bends and dips on the path chosen by the driver.
If the GPS information isn’t accessible, the technology makes use of a forward-facing video camera installed in the rear-view mirror base to identify lane markings and calculate the road’s curvature. As a result, the area can be illuminated more effectively.
The camera is capable of storing the data in its navigation system so when the driver passes the same road, the headlights are able to automatically adapt to the road situation. The company’s European Research and Innovation Centre in Aachen, Germany, developed the Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting System.
The automaker said that it’s likely that customers will be able to utilize this technology in the near term. Ford engineers in Aachen are working on the Spot Lighting technology, which is still in the pre-development phase. This system features an infra-red camera in the front grille to simultaneously locate and track as many as eight people and bigger animals such as big dogs as far as 120 meters away.
This technology can put the spotlight on two hazards by placing a spot and stripe on the road’s surface with two special LED lamps found beside the fog lights. A screen inside the car highlights these objects as they’re marked inside a red or yellow frame depending on how close they are and how dangerous they may be.
Michael Koherr, research engineer, Lighting Systems, Ford of Europe, said that with the Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting, it is easier to drive at night in unfamiliar environments. It is also makes it easier to detect hazards. For instance at roundabouts, the driver is able to see the exits clearly and verify if there are cyclists and pedestrians on the road.