Ford reveals camera-based headlights
Ford has revealed its camera-based advanced front lighting system that can adapt the front lights for junctions and illuminate pedestrians and animals on the road.
FORD’S BOFFINS have revealed a clever, or maybe distracting, camera-based headlight system that’s able to “widen the beam at junctions and roundabouts to better illuminate hazards that are not in the direction of travel. New Spot Lighting technology helps draw the driver’s attention to pedestrians, cyclists and even large animals in the vehicle’s path or even just off the road”.
“Many people who drive at night have had to quickly react to someone or something suddenly appearing in the road – as if from nowhere. Ford’s Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting System and Spot Lighting help ensure the driver is quickly alerted to people or animals that could present a danger,” said Ken Washington, vice president, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering.
If you’ve ever used automatic high beams then you’ll know just how clever and annoying they can be as they constantly flick on and off. Sure, they react instantly, but sometimes they can be tricked into activating and deactivating, and because the driver isn’t expecting them to activate they can end up becoming distracting and dazzling. Or is that just me?
According to Ford, “The system also uses GPS information to better illuminate bends and dips on a chosen route. Where GPS information is not available the technology uses a forward-facing video camera mounted in the rear-view mirror base to detect lane markings and predict the road’s curvature, using the information to illuminate the area more effectively”.
This clever sounding technology, at least on paper, is expected to be available in the near-term, so, let’s say sometime around 2018. Ford is also working on spot lighting, which uses an infra-red camera in the front grille to simultaneously locate and track up to eight people and bigger animals, including larger dogs, at a range of up to 120 metres.
“The system can spotlight two hazards for the driver with a spot and a stripe on the road surface, illuminated by two special LED lamps next to the fog lights. The highlighted objects are displayed on the screen inside the car, marked in a red or yellow frame, according to the proximity of the object and the level of danger presented,” according to Ford.
Other things that Ford’s working on, include:
▪Dynamic LED Headlights which combines full-LED headlamps offering daylight-mimicking light clarity with Ford’s Adaptive Front Lighting System. The system adjusts the headlight beam angle and intensity to match the driving environment. It can choose one of seven settings according to vehicle speed, ambient light conditions, steering angle, distance to the vehicle in front and windscreen wiper activation;
▪Glare-Free Highbeam technology for the adaptive LED headlamps. The system detects vehicles ahead and fades out light that could dazzle oncoming drivers, while retaining maximum illumination for other areas; and
▪Auto High Beam Control detects oncoming vehicles and automatically switches to dipped beam, before switching back to high beam once it detects the vehicle has passed.