Ford’s new headlight tech can project directions, speed limits        

Updated Aug 16, 2022 | Same topic: Leading-Edge Tech Trends

The information is laid out on the road ahead when driving at night. 

You’ve heard of heads-up displays that can show information from the dashboard to the windshield. Now, Ford is taking the technology literally a step further by placing it on the road, using the headlights as projectors. 

Ford Tests High-Resolution Headlights

The American automaker’s engineers are currently putting the technology through trials in Germany. It entails using high-resolution headlights to show relevant driving information such as speed limits, upcoming weather conditions, and changes to road surfaces ahead. 

It can even be connected to the onboard navigation system to display directional cues such as turns. And while drivers are largely expected to know the dimensions of their vehicle, the system can actually project the car’s width on the road to help drivers judge whether a car can fit into a particular space. 

Headlight projection driver POV

Directional lines projected ahead remind drivers of an upcoming turn

“What started as playing around with a projector and a blank wall could take lighting technologies to a whole new level,” said Lars Junker, Advanced Driver-Assist Systems (ADAS) Development Engineer for Ford of Europe. 

“There’s potential now to do so much more than simply illuminate the road ahead, to help reduce stress involved in driving at night. The driver could get essential information without ever needing to take their eyes off the road,” he adds.  

While the system is designed primarily for the driver, other road users can also benefit from it. For instance, the headlights can project a crosswalk if the standard road markings are faded, reducing the risk of a collision involving pedestrians. 

Mercedes-Benz Digital Light

The setup is similar to the Digital Light technology used by Mercedes-Benz

The technology is similar in execution to the Digital Light headlight premiered by Mercedes-Benz at the Geneva Motor Show in 2018 and used on the current S-Class Maybach. Ford’s testing is likely the first time that the execution is being seen on a more affordable car brand.    

There might be a bit of a learning curve, especially for motorists who are not used to seeing an object fixed on the headlight beams when driving at night. If the technology goes mainstream, it could be a significant step in enhancing road safety.   

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Joseph Paolo Estabillo

Joseph Paolo Estabillo

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Joseph holds a degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines Diliman and has been writing professionally since 1999. He has written episodes for CNN Philippines' motoring show Drive, and has worked on corporate projects for MG Philippines and Pilipinas Shell. Aside from being Philkotse.com’s Content Lead, he also writes content for numerous car dealerships in the U.S., spanning multiple brands such as Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Maserati, among others.

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