Ford is currently prototyping a new lighting system for its cars to augment headlights, and make driving on unlit roads at night a much safer experience.
The Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting System (not a particularly snappy name guys) uses infrared cameras to detect things at the side of the road the driver might not see clearly with traditional headlights, such as a deer on a grass verge or a person walking a dog late at night. When detected, independently movable spotlights will pick out the potential hazard.
The system (spotted by Gizmag) also uses GPS data to better illuminate bends and dips in the road, and the cameras also boast traffic sign recognition, allowing for the detection of roundabouts and junctions – and the lights can then be adjusted to better illuminate said roundabout or turn.
The system also stores information on roads, and will automatically adapt to a route if you drive along it again to better illuminate the way.
Ford reckons the new lighting system could help drivers gain as much as two or three seconds in reaction time when it comes to avoiding accidents at night. Clearly, smart cars aren’t just about self-driving vehicles…
Michael Koherr, research engineer, Lighting Systems, Ford of Europe, commented: “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."