It almost certainly doesn’t bear repeating, but visibility is the most integral component of safe driving in any situation. This simple axiom can sometimes make nighttime driving a nerve-racking experience, as the vehicle operator’s safety is more-or-less entirely at the whim of proper road illumination – both by functional street lamps, and by proper headlamp design.
Now, Ford Motor Company is joining a bevy of automakers trying to improve upon the nighttime driving experience, as the manufacturer has just finished development of an “Advanced Front Lighting” system, using intelligent engineering more than sheer lumens to better light the way forward.
At its core, Ford’s Advanced Front Lighting system simply builds upon the camera-based technologies already used in the automaker’s Adaptive Front Lighting and Traffic Sign Recognition systems. Future cars equipped with the system will be capable of recognizing traffic signs which alert of an approaching junction, roundabout, or other navigational obstacle, widening and directing the headlamp beams to predictively illuminate such paths. Advanced Front Lighting will also make use of a forward facing camera to recognize the lines between traffic lanes and the curvature of the road to dynamically adjust the headlamps.
What’s more, Ford’s Advanced Front Lighting can incorporate GPS data into its arsenal of predictive information, meaning that should you travel down the same road more than once, the system will have learned exactly where its dips, crests, signs, and curves should be expected.
In addition to the Advanced Front Lighting system, Ford Motor Company is also at-work on a complimentary technology known as “Spot Lighting.” In effect, this system uses infrared light and cameras to locate and track up to eight potential hazards, up to 120 meters up the road. Once detected, the two most serious obstacles will be highlighted on a cabin display for easier anticipation from the driver.
Ford’s Advanced Front Lighting system is expected to debut on select models in the near future, while Spot Lighting is, for the time-being, still in-development.