Wednesday, July 15, 2015
FORD'S SMART LIGHTS SHOWING THE WAY FORWARD | WITH FURY FORD SANDTON
Ford is in the limelight with their new spotlighting technology, a significant leap in driving safety. The development helps drivers detect and avoid potential hazards on unlit roads. Spotlighting uses an infrared-sensitive camera in the grille that can simultaneously track as many as eight people and larger animals, including dogs, from as far as 120m away.
Currently in pre-development, the system can shine on up to two hazards, illuminated by two special lamps next to the fog lights. The highlighted objects are displayed on the onboard screen, framed with a red or yellow border according to the potential danger and the proximity of the object. At a traffic circle the system helps to locate the exits and check if cyclists and pedestrians are crossing.
Check the lights in action in this video.
Ford's vice-president of research and advanced engineering, Ken Washington, said: “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 advanced front lighting system and spotlighting help to ensure the driver is quickly alerted to people or animals.”
The spotlights build on Ford’s advanced front lighting system (AFLS), Dynamic LED headlights, Glare-free high-beam, Auto high-beam and traffic-sign recognition (already used in Ford vehicles) to improve visibility at traffic circles, yield and stop signs.
The system can also ‘learn’ the roads. It uses GPS to illuminate known bends and dips on chosen routes. If there isn’t any road information available it uses a rear-mounted camera to detect lane markings and predict the forthcoming road curvature, then angling the spotlights to illuminate the area more effectively. In these instances the camera saves the data in the satnav, therefore 'learning' the road, for the next time you use that route.
Ford Europe lighting systems engineer Michael Koherr said: “Camera-based advanced front lighting can make it easier for a driver at night in unfamiliar surroundings.”