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New Ford GPS headlights “show the car where to go”

NEW Ford HEADLIGHTS use GPS data to preventively adjust the direction and strength of the beam at bends and intersections.

The American automaker says the technology effectively “shows[s] the car is the way to go ”.

Ford cited an AA survey of 16,000 drivers last year that found that up to half of British motorists had some level of fear of driving in the dark. More than one in seven (16%) said that they avoid driving in the dark whenever possible.

The prototype system uses “GPS location data, advanced technology and high-precision road geometry information” to predict upcoming turns on the road. An algorithm then calculates the vehicle’s speed and trajectory to adjust the direction of the headlights and effectively guide the driver around corners.

Michael Koherr, Ford European lighting research engineer, said, “The predictive lighting technology we are now developing means that one day driving in the dark may be as easy as just following your headlights. This new map and location based system is the next step on our way to not make driving at night more difficult or stressful than during the day. “

The integration of GPS into a car’s headlight system is not a new innovation. Audi made it back in 2013 with the A8, and the technology has found its way into other VW Group vehicles, including the Taycan, the highly acclaimed electric sports car from Porsche.

In 2019 it appeared on the Skoda Superb, a car from one of VWG’s lower-priced brands, and Ford’s introduction of a similar system shows that it continues to spread among more budget-friendly brands.

With the release of the updated Focus in 2018, Ford announced that the hatchback would introduce new technology that allows traffic signs and lane markings to be read, so headlights can perform actions such as widening the beam when approaching a roundabout.

At the time, Ford said the technology was actively bypassing the need for GPS integration, as 15% of European road layouts reportedly change every year. “Using road reading signs provides the most up-to-date information you can get,” Koherr said at the time.

The new system relies primarily on GPS information, but uses “camera and steering-based dynamic headlamp bending technologies” when location data is not available.

Ford said the new GPS-integrated headlamp system is not yet available for any of its models and has not disclosed a timeframe for inclusion on the option lists.

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