Ford’s High-Tech Lighting System Helps Night Driving

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Ford Motors wants to place road hazards in the spotlight.

Driving on unlit roads can be a nerve-wracking experience, and Ford realizes that.The automaker is developing two lighting technologies that could reduce front-end collisions and help drivers more easily identify potential hazards on unlit roads, the company announced Friday.

The first one called “camera-based advanced front lighting system” takes two of the automaker’s older technologies — adaptive lighting system and traffic sign recognition — and transforms them into something better. This tech can read traffic signs and use GPS info to widen the headlights’ reach at roundabouts. Without using GPS data, it uses cameras to locate lane markings and move the car’s high beams according to the road’s curvature, or to spot dips in the road to illuminate them better.

The second technology called “Spot Lighting” is especially useful when driving in residential locations with no street lights. The way it works is an infra-red camera on the front of the car’s grille locates and tracks people and dogs based on their body heat by up to 120 meters (around 394 feet) away. Underneath the headlights are spot lights that then direct their beams onto whatever was detected, giving the driver around 2 to 3 additional seconds to react. The hazard in question, be it a cyclist or object, is also highlighted on a screen inside the car.

Spot_Lighting“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.

Ford’s still not done making the Spot Lighting technology, but its camera-based front lighting system is ready to be deployed in the near future.

Source: Car and Driver