Ford revealed that it is testing technology in its headlights that knows what turns in front of it, so it can adequately adapt the beam.
Headlights that change their beam angle depending on where the wheel is turning have been around for a few years now, while Ford itself has been a pioneer in reading road signs and lane markings as signals of where the road is heading.
However, Blue Oval now says engineers from Ford Research and Advanced Engineering Europe are working on a new technology that uses real-time location data to see the road ahead.
It claims this allows the vehicle to have a beam angle toward a corner even before the driver sees it, illuminating any road hazards or vulnerable road users early on.
This is accomplished by combining GPS data and detailed mapping technology to precisely identify bends in the road ahead. The computer algorithm calculates the speed and course of the vehicle so that it can adjust the headlights appropriately.
All this is accomplished by using the data to create a “digital twin” of the driver’s environment, with accurate simulations of where the light falls to determine how best to illuminate the road ahead.
If there is no data available on a particular stretch of road, it will revert to using the onboard cameras and guidance inputs to determine where to bend the light.
“The predictive lighting technology we’re developing now means that one day driving in the dark can be as simple as just following the headlights,” said Michael Coher, a lighting research engineer at European Ford.
“This new map and location based system is the next step in our endeavor to make driving at night not as difficult or cumbersome as it is during the day.”