Helping drivers see people, animals and junctions at night

July 17, 2015

Driving at night, particularly on unlit roads, can be a nerve-wracking experience. We are  developing two new lighting technologies that could make things easier.

Developed at our Research and Innovation Centre in Aachen, Germany, our Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting System can widen the beam at junctions and roundabouts.

Building upon Adaptive Front Lighting System and Traffic Sign Recognition, the system interprets traffic signs to better illuminate hazards that are not in the direction of travel, and uses GPS information for enhanced lighting when encountering bends and dips on a chosen route.

Where GPS information is not available, a video camera detects lane markings and predicts the road’s curvature. When next the driver uses the same road again, the headlights adapt to the course of the road automatically.

We expect this technology to be available for customers in the near term.


Spot Lighting is currently in the pre-development phase in Aachen. The system  uses an infra-red camera in the front grille to simultaneously locate and track people and bigger animals, including larger dogs, at up to 120 metres.

The system spotlights hazards for the driver with a spot and a stripe on the road surface and highlighted objects are displayed on the screen inside the car.

“Many people who drive at night have had to quickly react to someone or something suddenly appearing in the road – as if from nowhere. 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,” said Ken Washington, vice president, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering.