Smart location-based lighting technology from Ford Research and Advanced Engineering Europe could well revolutionize our driving experience at night, with headlights beams that proactively adjust their direction according to the vehicle’s real-time location on the road. Currently, in its prototype 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 and make driving safer.
In areas where GPS data is not available, the system falls back on the onboard cameras (including infrared) and steering inputs to provide corner illumination.
This system has an advantage over current dynamic headlight bending technologies that are steering-dependent from 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 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 the location-based system is the next step on our quest to make driving at night no more difficult or stressful as during the day.”