Ford has almost finished developing a new type of intelligent headlight system that might just make night driving a less stressful and (hopefully) less dangerous experience. The system is almost complete and expected to enter production soon enough.
It was termed Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting (CBAFL) and it represents the next advancement in Ford’s already advanced headlight systems. Based on collected GPS data, this system will be able to know when the car approaches trickier parts of the road such as bends and focus the lights directly on them without input from the driver.
This gives the person driving more breathing space and allows them to focus less on trying to figure out what is coming ahead. The system is heavily dependent on GPS though. But when no information exists about that particular route, a camera located in the rear-view mirror analyses the structure of the road behind. The data is stored in case the same path is used again, allowing the CBAFL to access it.
This headlight system will be compatible with the already existing ones offered by Ford. Those versions automatically dim the lights when another car is coming from the other way and can adapt to other changes in the road.
Before long we will be able to see just how efficient the new technology is. But Ford has already started working on an even more promising prototype. Its name is Stop Lighting and its purpose is to give a new sense of safety for night-time drivers.
The headlight system can supposedly detect mobile objects on its own up to 120 meters away, including humans or sizeable animals. It will then direct the headlights to focus on the potential hazard while the on-board display notifies the driver in striking colors.
It will use an infrared spotting system located on the front of the car. This technology is also intended to be entirely compatible with the CBAFL system to offer drivers are much safety as possible. Stop Lighting is currently only in a pre-production stage but shows great promise nonetheless.
There are concerns however that drivers will begin to rely too much on these systems and pay less attention to the road. Hopefully this will not be the case, as in the end neither Stop Lightning nor CBAFL can hit the breaks when a cyclist pops out of nowhere.
Regardless, night driving (especially when in an unknown area) is highly dangerous and this innovations could help save many lives.
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