Ford Headlight Tech Switches Focus

Sat 20th Aug 2022

Ford Motor Company has unveiled trials of a new headlight technology which could change the way we think about driving at night.

Head-up displays have long enabled drivers to stay focussed on the road ahead, however, Ford engineers are now experimenting with new headlight technology that might ensure those behind the wheel keep their eyes on the road.

The new tech will project directions, speed limits and weather information onto the road ahead, allowing motorists to focus on the difficult driving conditions often experienced at night.

According to the UK Department for Transport, 40% of all collisions occur at night, even though there are fewer people on the road then during the day. Drivers who divert their attention from the road put themselves at higher risk. Even a brief glance at the navigation on a vehicle's dashboard can cause "driving blind" if the road is unlit. Missing a stop sign or a turn on an unlit road might be the result.

Other road users could also benefit from information being projected onto the road using high-resolution headlights. For instance, a crosswalk could be projected onto the road, both for the driver and pedestrian, when existing road markings are faded or unclear. A path could also be shown to the driver to ensure that cyclists are passed at a safe distance.

The system might alert the driver to weather changes, such as snowfall, fog, slippery roads, or icy conditions. The headlight might display upcoming turns to assist the driver in determining whether the vehicle will fit through an opening or into a parking space.

“What started as playing around with a projector light and a blank wall could take lighting technologies to a whole new level,” said Lars Junker, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. “There’s the potential now to do so much more than simply illuminate the road ahead, to help reduce the stress involved in driving at night. The driver could get essential information without ever needing to take their eyes off the road.”