Ford UK Touts New Lighting Technologies

They will help nighttime drivers spot hard-to-see people and larger animals ahead of their vehicles and also hazards that are not in the direction of travel.

Ford UK on July 17 posted a video and descriptions of two technologies being developed at the company's Research and Innovation Centre in Aachen, Germany that will assist nighttime drivers, particularly on unlit roads.

One is the Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting System, which can widen the headlight beam at junctions and roundabouts. It is described as building on the Adaptive Front Lighting System and Traffic Sign Recognition, a system that "interprets traffic signs to better illuminate hazards that are not in the direction of travel, and uses GPS information for enhanced lighting when encountering bends and dips on a chosen route. Where GPS information is not available, a video camera detects lane markings and predicts the road's curvature. When next the driver uses the same road again, the headlights adapt to the course of the road automatically," according to the post, which said this technology is expected to be available "for customers in the near term."

Also being developed in Aachen is Spot Lighting, a system using an infrared camera in the vehicle's front grille to locate and track people and bigger animals, including larger dogs, at up to 120 meters. The system spotlights hazards for the driver with a spot and a stripe on the road surface; highlighted objects are displayed on the screen inside the car.

"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 of Ford Research and Advanced Engineering.

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