Follow your headlights! New tech predicts what’s coming

October 24, 2018

According to a recent survey, most people are scared driving after dark, something that, with the clocks about to go back, will soon be happening for more and more people.

We are the first manufacturer to introduce technology that uses road signs and lane markings as the cue to adjust headlight beams that better illuminate the road ahead. On the new Focus this will, for example, widen the beam when approaching a roundabout so that drivers are able to see pedestrians and cyclists at the kerbside more easily.

Rather than depending on GPS mapping, which does not always reflect the latest road layout changes, the new system harnesses camera and lighting technologies to offers real-world warning of what lies ahead.

“The dream is that night driving need be no more difficult than driving in the day. Our latest lighting technologies are part of our plan to make that a reality,” said engineer Michael Koherr. “Across Europe 15 per cent of road layouts change every year. Amazingly useful as GPS is, using signs to read the road offers the most up-to-date information you can get.”

Experts say the risk of being in a fatal crash is three times higher at night. There is also an increasing number of roundabouts, the total number across 19 European countries rising by 16 per cent from 2016 to 2017 alone.

The front facing camera on the Focus already supports technologies that help drivers keep the car centred in its lane, maintain a comfortable driving distance from vehicles ahead and warn drivers against driving the wrong way onto a motorway. Mounted on the inside of the windscreen, below the rear-view mirror, it can monitor road signs and markings up to 65 metres ahead, enabling the system’s dynamic bending function to come into play much sooner than if only reliant on steering inputs.