Ford Motor Co.’s European Research and Innovation Center has developed smart headlights able to detect road hazards and the contours of the road.
Cameras and GPS systems will illuminate the road based on curves, dips and bends. If GPS is not available, the system will store the road’s data for future use.
An infrared spotlight system in the vehicles’ grill will monitor the road for upcoming hazards and obstacles such as animals and pedestrians. Up to eight of these obstacles can be tracked at one time, and will be displayed on the dashboard based on priority.
An extra beam of light is shone on the obstacle to make it more visible. If more than one obstacle is present, it will shine on the two with the highest priority.
"Many people who drive at night have had to quickly react to someone or something suddenly appearing in the road -- as if from nowhere," said Ken Washington, vice president, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. "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."
Studies have shown that unlit roads increase the risk of serious accidents.
The headlights, which will be available in the near future, will be marketed in Europe and Asia as laws in the United States ban adaptive headlight systems.
German luxury auto manufacturers already offer adaptive headlines, but Ford will be the first to offer the technology at a more budget-friendly price.
Ford headlights already dim automatically to not blind oncoming drivers.
Ford also has developed a new air filtration system with city drivers in mind.
The system filters gaseous pollutants, odors, 99% of pollen and almost all nitrogen dioxide. Sensors will measure air quality. If pollutants are detected, the car will switch to an air filtration system using activated charcoal.
In a test, Ford found the system was able to make air quality inside a car driving through congested traffic, the same as country air.
It will be added to Galaxy, Mondeo and S-MAX models.
A sneeze can blind a driver who is going 65 miles per hour for 66 feet, Ford says.
The company aspires to improve people’s lives, it said.
Key Statistics – U.S. Lightbulb Market (source: Freedonia)
- The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 banned the sale of incandescent lamps. In 2017, the market is forecasted to decline to $7.2 billion in value.
- Demand for high intensity discharge and other discharge bulbs is forecast to grow 2.3% annually through 2017 and reach $2.4 billion.
- Through 2017, halogen bulbs are forecasted to experience the strongest demand.
- Halogen and CFLs bulbs are more expensive to replace than incandescent bulbs. Through 2017, the value of the lightbulb market will decline slower than demand for bulbs.