Have you ever driven at night with your normal headlights rather than run the risk angering other drivers by forgetting you are using your brights (high-beam headlights)? Ford has now developed a technology that enables drivers to take full advantage of their headlights' capability, without dazzling other drivers.
Glare-Free Highbeam uses a windshield-mounted camera to detect the headlights or taillights of vehicles and bicycles up to 800 metres away at night, and uses specially developed headlights to block light that could otherwise temporarily blind other drivers and cyclists.
Driving with high-beam headlights enables drivers to see hazards in the road much earlier. And studies have shown that automated high-beam headlights are activated up to 10 times more than when drivers have to switch to high-beam themselves.
"Ask any driver what the most annoying habits of other drivers are and sooner or later the subject of people who don't switch off their brights when you are oncoming will come up," said Michael Koherr, research engineer, Lighting Systems, Ford of Europe. "Ford's new Glare-Free Highbeam helps maximise the use of high beam and means drivers can see significantly more of the road ahead - without causing any distraction to other road users."
The technology was developed by a global team of Ford engineers and supplier partners. Testing included a purpose-built light simulation area and test drives in night-time conditions around the globe.
Glare-Free Highbeam works together with Ford's Auto High Beam system, and Ford Dynamic LED headlights with Adaptive Front Lighting System, which can adjust the headlight beam angle and intensity to one of seven settings according to speed, ambient light, steering angle, distance to the vehicle in front and windscreen wiper activation. Ford's automated lighting technologies are automatically activated when low ambient light conditions are detected.
"We found that some drivers are so concerned about dazzling other road users that they don't use high beam at all," Koherr said. "Ford's Glare-Free Highbeam technology can remove that stress for drivers, and softly transitioning between settings also helps the driver's eyes adjust faster to changing quantities of light."
Further semi-autonomous technologies offered by Ford can scan traffic signs and adjust the throttle to help drivers stay within legal speed limits, and can detect people in or near the road ahead, or who may cross the vehicle's path, and automatically apply the brakes if a potential collision is detected.
Ford also is developing future advanced lighting technology that improves visibility at roundabouts, stop, and give way or yield signs, and draws the driver's attention to pedestrians, cyclists and even large animals in the vehicle's path or even just off the road.