The very clever folk at Ford are working on two different bits of headlight technology that will not only make driving at night safer on main roads but shed some added light on people and even animals in poorly lit areas. Even in the 60s manufacturers like Citroen were trying out types of adaptive head light technology. Early attempts involved the bulbs changing direction as you turned the steering wheel. This was fine until you went to turn the car slowly and couldn’t see in front of you when you were on full lock. These days’ things have got a little more technical and automatic headlights are nothing new, even automatic full and dipped beam can be found on various Range Rover models. This technology means the driver never actually has to touch the headlights, it is all done automatically.
Camera Based Advanced Lighting System
This system is based on the already available adaptive front lighting system and Ford’s traffic sign recognition system. It brings together a number of different parts of these systems to provide some very handy assistance. The headlights will use GPS to change the beam according to the type of road and even the type of junction you are on. As you approach a roundabout, for example, the beam will widen to make sure you have a good view. When there is no GPS signal a camera will read traffic signs and road markings instead. It also adapts to turns and dips in the road to illuminate hazards that might not be in the main line of site, the aim is to make driving at night a great deal safer.
This system really is exciting and sadly still very much in development, but hopefully it won’t be too long until we see it in the Ford range. Essentially the system uses spot lights that can move independently to illuminate pedestrians and animals based on their body heat signatures. Using infra-red cameras the system not only picks them out and shines a spot light on them but it also shows the “target” on the screen inside the car. The system is designed to highlight any potential animals or people near the edge of the road. This will not only help drivers steer clear of people running,cycling or walking their dogs but will also hopefully help avoid deer collisions as the animals tend to stand by the road before all running across. Ford suggest the system is capable of picking out up to 8 pedestrians’ cyclists or animals. Both of these systems are really pushing the use of technology in cars and will be a welcomed option for many drivers.