Ford's future lighting tech
We've made comment before about automotive illumination being the new battleground for carmakers and here's Ford weighing into the fray with headlights that can not only better illuminate junctions, but spot large, living hazards for the driver as well - like deer, big dogs and people.
The first part of this dazzling tech is called the Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting System (which leads us to create the slightly clumsy acronym of 'CBAFLS') and it can widen the headlights' beam at junctions and roundabouts to light up dangers that are not in the direction of travel.
It builds on the existing Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFLS) and Traffic Sign Recognition, which can already swing the headlights in the direction of travel; using GPS information to better illuminate bends and dips on a chosen route. In a remote area with no GPS signal? Then a forward-facing camera in the rear-view mirror detects the lane markings and road's curvature to better light the way, before remembering that data for future journeys along the same route.
CBAFLS was developed at Aachen in Germany and is expected to be on customer cars in the near future.
Ford's Spot Lighting is more intriguing still, although it is currently in the pre-development phase with Ford's engineers and thus is further from the showroom. It utilises an infra-red camera to spotlight two hazards for the driver, deploying a 'spot' and a 'stripe' on the road's surface via two special LED lamps next to the foglights. 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.
It can track up to eight people and bigger animals in front of the car, or just off the road ahead, at a range of up to 120 metres.
Michael Koherr, research engineer for Lighting Systems, Ford of Europe, said: "Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting can help make it easier for the driver to travel at night in unfamiliar surroundings, and to more easily see unexpected hazards. At roundabouts, for example, our system helps the driver to clearly see the exits - and check if cyclists and pedestrians are crossing the road.
"Spot Lighting makes potential hazards in the road ahead more easily visible to the driver - whether that is a pedestrian, a cyclist or even a large animal."
Here's a video of the Advanced Lighting Technology in action.
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