Ford’s at Work on Lights That Can Memorize Roads and Detect Pedestrians
Ford’s decision to offer the new F-150 with LED headlights was a step into the future, but what it’s been working on in its European Research and Innovation Centre in Aachen, Germany can be considered a giant leap.
The automaker’s using its existing Traffic Sign Recognition and Adaptive Front Lighting System technologies as a springboard for something it calls its Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting System.
In roundabouts, it allows the headlights to widen their beams and show not only the road down which the car will be turning but the traffic coming from the other direction.
The system uses GPS information to better light the road ahead. If that data is not available, the package uses a camera in the base of the rear-view mirror to read lane markings and predict the layout of the road ahead and illuminate it accordingly. The Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting System then stores that information in the navigation’s memory so that lighting strategy can used the next time that particular road is traveled.
Ford’s also been in the lab and out in the real world tinkering with Spot Lighting, which uses a grille-mounted infra-red camera to simultaneously locate and track as many as eight people and larger animals from a distance of up to 394 feet. Two hazards can be spot-lit by a pair of special LED lamps next to the fog lights. According to Ford, “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.”
As advanced as these innovations sound, they haven’t advanced to the production stage…yet. We’ll probably see them down the road, though.
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