New Smart Headlights can Spot Obstacles, Save Energy
Nobody wants to dish out huge amounts of money for car insurance, but if you’re prone to accidents behind the wheel, you’re likely paying more than you have to. But are all collisions the fault of the driver? Certainly not. Roads are full of countless obstacles, both moving and stationary, including animals, rocks, potholes, pedestrians, and sharp metallic debris.
We could all probably drive a little safer, but the biggest advancements in automotive safety come from the vehicles themselves. For years now, auto manufacturers have made available a wide range of safety technologies that go beyond the typical seatbelt and airbag combo, and American auto maker Ford is on the brink of a major breakthrough.
Their newest “smart headlights” will not only have the ability to redirect high beams away from other drivers’ eyes, they will have the ability to highlight obstacles in the road to hopefully reduce the number of collisions and give people more time to react. With GPS technology, a front-facing camera, and a possible infrared camera coming in the future, Ford’s new smart lighting system looks like it could be a game-changer.
If you’re familiar with currently-available smart headlight technology, you’ve probably noticed how the headlights respond to steering wheel’s movement to better illuminate curvy roads and sharp turns. With the help of a front-facing camera and GPS technology, the headlights can respond before you do – with GPS technology, your headlights will know where turns are coming, and in vehicles without GPS, the computer behind these intelligent new headlights will simply remember the contours of the road and react accordingly next time. Even in the event that you’re driving on a road for the very first time without GPS, the front-facing camera we mentioned earlier can scan the road and light your path, revealing obstacles before you even begin your turn.
But that’s not all – these headlights don’t just make obstacles brighter, they can tell you how dangerous they are and how quickly they’re approaching. This information is displayed on a dashboard monitor as a live feed of the footage gathered from the front-facing camera overlaid with yellow and red warnings. Simply put, if there’s an obstacle in your path, your vehicle will spotlight it and your on-board display will turn the obstacles yellow or red, depending on the danger present.
Michael Koherr, a research engineer for Ford of Europe, elaborates on how the system will handle the unique way these headlight illuminate roundabouts, saying, “Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting can help make it easier for the driver to travel at night in unfamiliar surroundings, and to more easily see unexpected hazards. At roundabouts, for example, our system helps the driver to clearly see the exits — and check if cyclists and pedestrians are crossing the road.”
So when will this new technology be ready? Ford gives the vague but exciting timeframe of “the near term”, but if the technology takes longer to roll around, it’s because Ford wants to implement a new infrared sensor that is currently entering the pre-development phase.
Is this the future of automotive safety, or is adaptive lighting still not ready for prime time? Let us know in the comments section below, and if you’re looking for auto insurance in California, give us a call or click today!