We’ve all done it. Forgetting to dip your high beam lights at night and getting an angry flash from oncoming drivers. It’s no fun when you’re on the receiving end of it and can be dangerous if it happens at a bad time.
Edmund King, who is the President of The AA, describes the problem better than I can:
“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.”
To help reduce the problem, Ford has introduced glare-free high beam lights. This almost sounds like an April Fool but I promise it’s not!
The new headlights mean that drivers do not have to dip their high beam headlights as the glare-free headlights will automatically block those rays that would otherwise dazzle oncoming road users. Here’s a graphic showing how it works, according to Ford:
At the heart of the system is a front-facing camera. This detects oncoming headlights, tailights or bicycles up to 800m away at night and uses specially-developed headlights to modify the beam pattern and avoid dazzling oncoming drivers.
According to Ford, Glare-Free Highbeam works together with Ford’s Auto High Beam system and the firm’s Dynamic LED headlights with Adaptive Front Lighting System. Together, these systems can automatically 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.
The firm says that it has found that some drivers are so worried about dazzling oncoming drivers that they never used high beam at all. This makes driving on dark roads a lot harder and potentially more dangerous, in my opinion. Glare-Free Highbeam is one of a package of headlight technologies Ford hopes will solve this problem.
Here’s a video showing how all of these systems work together:
It all sounds good (until it goes wrong, anyway) and is part of a gradual move towards semi-autonomous driving. Ford already has other systems which provide automated emergency braking and intelligent speed regulation in order to minimse the risk of collisions or speeding offences.
The new Glare-Free Highbeacm is available now on the Ford S-Max and Galaxy and will also be offered on the forthcoming Ford Edge SUV.