Ford has demonstrated a range of new technologies at an innovation workshop in Germany, with a focus on improved headlight and air-filtration systems.
While some cars are already equipped with constantly-adjustable LED headlamp beams, Ford has taken the idea to a new level with lights that can identify and highlight hazards to the driver.
Using infrared and camera-based detection, the headlights can ‘point’ to pedestrians or animals that may be hidden in the darkness (see video, top of page).
The cameras can also recognise road signs; signalling the headlights to widen beams for improved visibility at difficult intersections.
The system can identify up to eight hazards at one time and prioritise what it believes to be the two most urgent, bringing those to the attention of the driver through improved lighting and on-screen displays in the cabin.
A GPS-based system can be used to ‘learn’ routes often travelled by the driver, after which the headlamps can provide more effective lighting around corners as it knows when they’re approaching.
“Many people who drive at night have had to quickly react to someone or something suddenly appearing in the road - as if from nowhere,” Ford’s Ken Washington said.
“Ford’s camera-based advanced front lighting system and spot lighting help ensure the driver is quickly alerted to people or animals that could present a danger.”
Besides its new headlight tech, Ford also revealed a new air-filtration system which it claims is so advanced, city drivers can breathe cleaner air then that available ‘naturally’ in the country.
Ford says its new system dramatically improves the air quality for drivers using tunnels or stuck in congested traffic and can therefore improve safety - particularly for allergy suffers and asthmatics.
The carmaker adds that a driver can be ‘driving blind’ for up to 20 metres when they sneeze while travelling at 95km/h.
The advanced lighting and air-filtrations systems aren’t merely concepts for Ford, with plans from the carmaker to offer the new tech to customers in selected models soon.
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