The light that blinds

Thursday, 19 May, 2016

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Or, in this case, doesn’t. Ford has developed a technology that enables drivers to use high-beam headlights without dazzling drivers in oncoming cars, according to information released by the National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP).

The technology, Glare-Free Highbeam, uses a windshield-mounted camera to detect the headlights or tail-lights of vehicles and bicycles up to 800 m away at night, and uses specially developed headlights to block light that could otherwise temporarily blind other drivers and cyclists.

Driving with high-beam headlights enables drivers to see hazards in the road much earlier and, according to NRSPP, studies have shown that automated high-beam headlights are activated up to 10 times more than when drivers have to switch to high beam themselves.

Edmund King, president of the UK-based Automobile Association, said, “Road users being dazzled by the use of vehicle full beam is an increasing problem in the UK, and is said to be the cause of hundreds of road accidents and around 10 fatalities each year.

“Headlight technology is advancing rapidly, providing drivers with a greater field of vision and illumination on the road, but can cause an equal number of problems for other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. It is testament to Ford for offering this advanced feature to their customers to help tackle the issue.”

Ask any driver what the most annoying habits of other drivers are and sooner or later the subject of people who don’t dip their headlights will come up,” said Michael Koherr, research engineer, Lighting Systems, Ford of Europe.

“Ford’s new Glare-Free Highbeam helps maximise the use of high beam and means drivers can see significantly more of the road ahead — without causing any distraction to other road users.”

The technology was developed by a global team of Ford engineers and supplier partners. Testing included a purpose-built light simulation area and test drives in night-time conditions around the globe.

Glare-Free Highbeam works together with Ford’s Auto High Beam system, and Ford Dynamic LED headlights with Adaptive Front Lighting System, which can adjust the headlight beam angle and intensity to one of seven settings according to speed, ambient light, steering angle, distance to the vehicle in front and windscreen wiper activation. Ford’s automated lighting technologies are automatically activated when low ambient light conditions are detected.

Image credit: ©Yurii Bizgaimer/Dollar Photo Club

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