October 4, 2022

Ford headlights project directions, speed limits and weather information on the ROAD in front of you

With an estimated 40 per cent of all collisions occurring in the hours of darkness, it’s no surprise that many drivers are nervous about getting in the car at night.

But Ford’s latest innovation could make hitting the road when it’s dark much easier.

The car giant is testing smart headlights that project directions, speed limits, and weather information onto the road in front of you.

For example, if the road ahead was icy, the car would project a snowflake icon on the road, while if the speed limit changed, the new limit would be shone on the ground.

Ford is testing smart headlights that project directions, speed limits, and weather information onto the road in front of you

With an estimated 40 per cent of all collisions occurring in the hours of darkness, it's no surprise that many drivers are nervous about getting in the car at night

With an estimated 40 per cent of all collisions occurring in the hours of darkness, it's no surprise that many drivers are nervous about getting in the car at night

With an estimated 40 per cent of all collisions occurring in the hours of darkness, it’s no surprise that many drivers are nervous about getting in the car at night

How to drive responsibly at night 

  1. Use your lights appropriately
  2. Don’t stare at oncoming vehicles
  3. Keep your windows clean
  4. Watch out for children, cyclists and animals
  5. Get your eyes tested
  6. Don’t get behind the wheel when tired
  7. Hone your night-driving skills
  8. Carry a blanket, torch, phone charger and de-icer in your car 

Source: RAC 

According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, 40 per cent of collisions occur in the hours of darkness.

‘The most obvious danger of night driving is decreased visibility,’ it explains in a factsheet.

‘The distance a driver can see is shortened and so hazards can often seem to appear out of nowhere.

‘It also takes time for the eyes to adjust to the darkness after being in a lit building or after driving on a well-lit road.’

In the hopes of making driving at night easier for drivers, Ford is testing new headlight technology.

‘What started as playing around with a projector light and a blank wall could take lighting technologies to a whole new level,’ said Lars Junker, features and software, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, Ford of Europe.

‘There’s the potential now to do so much more than simply illuminate the road ahead, to help reduce the stress involved in driving at night.’

The headlights could project a range of icons onto the road that would be helpful for both the driver of the car, and for other road users.

For example, a zebra crossing could be projected onto the road, both for the view of the driver and for any pedestrians looking for a safe place to cross.

The projections could also show a safe path for the driver to follow to ensure cyclists are passed at a safe distance.

Alternatively, the technology could provide the driver with information about the weather via projected icons showing upcoming fog, snow or ice.

Connecting the headlights to a navigation system could allow them to display upcoming turns, roundabouts or merging traffic

Connecting the headlights to a navigation system could allow them to display upcoming turns, roundabouts or merging traffic

Connecting the headlights to a navigation system could allow them to display upcoming turns, roundabouts or merging traffic

The headlights could project a range of icons onto the road that would be helpful for both the driver of the car, and for other road users

The headlights could project a range of icons onto the road that would be helpful for both the driver of the car, and for other road users

The headlights could project a range of icons onto the road that would be helpful for both the driver of the car, and for other road users

Meanwhile, connecting the headlights to a navigation system could allow them to display upcoming turns, roundabouts or merging traffic.

‘The driver could get essential information without ever needing to take their eyes off the road,’ Mr Junker added.

It remains unclear when the technology will be ready to be rolled out, or how much it might cost. 

This isn’t the first time that Ford has tested an unusual light-based technology. 

'The driver could get essential information without ever needing to take their eyes off the road,' Mr Junker added

'The driver could get essential information without ever needing to take their eyes off the road,' Mr Junker added

‘The driver could get essential information without ever needing to take their eyes off the road,’ Mr Junker added

In 2020, Ford unveiled a bizarre light-up jacket, dubbed the ‘Emoji Jacket’, as part of its ‘Share the Road’ campaign

In 2020, Ford unveiled a bizarre light-up jacket, dubbed the ‘Emoji Jacket’, as part of its ‘Share the Road’ campaign

In 2020, Ford unveiled a bizarre light-up jacket, dubbed the ‘Emoji Jacket’, as part of its ‘Share the Road’ campaign

In 2020, the car giant unveiled a bizarre light-up jacket, dubbed the ‘Emoji Jacket’, as part of its ‘Share the Road’ campaign.

The prototype jacket has a large LED panel on the back, upon which users can display various emoji and signals, making it much easier to convey their movements on the road.

A small control panel can be attached to the handlebars, with buttons corresponding with six emoji – a left arrow, a right arrow, a hazard sign, a smiley face, a frowning face, or a neutral face.

Depending on what’s happening up ahead, riders can press their desired button, and the emoji will flash up on their back. 

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