Ford testing smart GPS-based headlights for better corner lighting
Smart location-based lighting technology from Ford Research and Advanced Engineering Europe could well revolutionise our driving experience at night, with headlights beams that pro-actively adjust their direction according to the vehicle's real-time location on the road. Currently in its prototyping stage, the tech uses GPS location data, and street geometry information via cameras to calculate the trajectory and speed of the vehicle to direct the headlight throw, around corners and through junctions to better light up hidden hazards. In areas where GPS-data is not available, the system falls back on the on-board cameras (including infrared) and steering inputs to provide corner illumination.
Ford smart lighting tech (left) can light up the inside of corners even when steering input is zero
Where this system has an advantage over current dynamic headlight bending technologies which are steering-dependent from the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Audi, is theoretically in its response time, as the headlights know where to "look" before the vehicle even reaches the corner. This should give drivers an extra moment or two of visibility of the corner and around it, which should help response times for hazard avoidance. A Ford European lighting research engineer says, "The predictive lighting technology we are developing now means that one day driving in the dark could be as simple as just following your headlights. This new map- and location?based system is the next step on our quest to make driving at night no more difficult or stressful as during the day."