Ford has revealed that it is testing headlight technology that knows what turns are ahead so it can adapt the beam appropriately.
Headlights that change the angle of their beam depending on where the wheel is turned have been around for a few years now, while Ford itself pioneered the reading of road signs and lane markings as cues for where the road was heading.
However, now the Blue Oval says engineers from Ford Research and Advanced Engineering Europe are working on new technology that uses real-time location data to see the road ahead.
It claims that this allows the car to angle the beam towards the corner even before the driver may have seen it, illuminating any road hazards or vulnerable road users early.
This is achieved by combining GPS data with detailed mapping technology to accurately identify bends in the road ahead. A computer algorithm calculates the speed and trajectory of the vehicle so that it can adjust the headlights appropriately.
This is all achieved by using the data to create a ‘digital twin’ of the environment around the driver, with accurate simulations of where light is falling used to determine the best way to light the road ahead.
If there is no data available on a particular stretch of road, it will fall back to using on-board cameras and steering inputs to determine where to bend the light.
Michael Koherr, Ford European lighting research engineer, said: “The predictive lighting technology we are developing now means that one day driving in the dark could be as simple as just following your headlights.
“This new map- and location‑based system is the next step on our quest to make driving at night no more difficult or stressful as during the day.”