Smart headlight - hillman

I recently read an article in an old copy of the BBC Focus magazine about ‘Smart Headlights’. The article is about Ford’s Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting System. It seems that the Ford Motor company are developing a front lighting system that will react to such things as animals on the road up to 120 meters ahead. It also includes GPS to monitor your whereabouts and boost the headlights for blind bends or junctions. Where there is no GPS signal the system can track road marking and read traffic signs. Perhaps this is for the future driverless cars. If not, I can imagine many young drivers coming to rely on their ‘automatic’ headlights and the resultant accidents.

But, why does a driverless car need headlights at all ? Can’t they have Daytime Running Lights so that they can be seen and rely on their radar. One thing that’s encouraging; driverless cars will likely be restricted in speed.

I live in a country district where sheep and lambs wander onto the road in springtime so I’m interested. The roads also have many bends and steep hills. I’ve been troubled recently by some of the ultra bright white headlights, especially when meeting vehicles on the brow of a hill. The system will have be very smart indeed to avoid dazzling drivers while reacting to animals wandering on the road.

Has anybody else seen anything about ‘smart’ headlights ?

Smart headlight - RaineMan

The first 'Smart Headlamps' were pronbly on the 1950's Cadillacs with their "Autronic Eye" system that switched between main and dipped beam. I remember being fascinated by ths system when my father popped in to Cambridge Autos on the then A1 dual carriageway through Hatfield.

Smart headlight - dimdip

Interesting technology.

What we need more though, IMHO, is a system that senses where the driver's eyes are, where approaching vehicles' headlights are, and then darkens the windscreen directly between. This should be possible with existing technology, e.g. instantaneously dimmed welders masks, games console 'Kinect' motion sensors, eye direction tracking sensors, etc.

Edited by dimdip on 06/01/2016 at 22:46

Smart headlight - hillman

I don't like the thought of darkening my windscreen when dazzled by headlights on the brow of a hill. That might prevent me seeing a hazardous situation, like a drunk staggering on the road, or a bicyclist with a flat battery in their rear light (if they've got a rear light). More appropriate would be a radio link that dips the headlights of both cars. If the other car is dazzling me then I'm probably dazzling him too.

Smart headlight - dimdip

Not dimming the whole windscreen, just a couple (or more) spots large enough to attenuate the oncoming vehicles' headlights.

Smart headlight - Andrew-T

Interesting technology. .....

That just about sums it up. No doubt it can be developed into a clever gizmo, but would it be up to every circumstance it might meet?

There are too many gadgets in today's pipeline which look so much like daffy projects for the nerds and geeks to have fun with. Boys' toys in fact. By all means try it out as a test project, but please don't imagine that every possible scenario for 30 million unpredictable drivers will have been covered.

Smart headlight - galileo

Back in the 1950s it was suggested that dazzle could be eliminated by polarising windscreens and headlight glasses at the same 45 degree angle, thus shutting out light from opposing headlamps.

Given the need for all manufacturers to sign up to it (and customers willing to pay the extrs cost) this never got futher than a proposal.

Smart headlight - dimdip

Back in the 1950s it was suggested that dazzle could be eliminated by polarising windscreens and headlight glasses at the same 45 degree angle, thus shutting out light from opposing headlamps.

I'd love to know if it would have worked. Probably very flickery since every time the cars went out of angular alignment you'd get an eyeful :)

Smart headlight - dimdip

Interesting technology. .....

That just about sums it up. No doubt it can be developed into a clever gizmo, but would it be up to every circumstance it might meet?

Clearly, it would require a lot of development, but would be more than a gimmick. Having one's vision temporarily compromised by every passing vehicle – and especially those with misaligned lights – must be a common contributary cause of accidents, particularly those involving unlit pedestrians, cyclists, animals and obstructions.

At present, I follow the advice of the Telegraph's driving columnist who suggests looking towards the verge to avoid being dazzled – hardly a safe situation, but probably still preferable to being dazzled.

Also, an independent system that was contained within the one vehicle would potentially make it effective in all situations rather than only working when a compatible vehicle was passing.

Smart headlight - Cyd

At present, I follow the advice of the Telegraph's driving columnist who suggests looking towards the verge to avoid being dazzled

NOT new advice. I was taught this by my instructor when learning in the early '80s.

It is however, good advice and works well most of the time.

Smart headlight - Cyd

Has anybody else seen anything about ‘smart’ headlights ?

Yes. And I can report that they are extremely smart indeed. I was very impressed.

It was quite by chance that I was party to a demonstration of this technology, but I can say no more except that this has nothing to do with driverless cars. This technology will be available 'soon'.

Smart headlight - Ethan Edwards

If they were really smart they would direct 70% of the clunkers I see on the A12 every night to Hulfruds and have numerous new bulbs fitted.

I wonder if our wonderful mot inspectors are now relying on guide dogs to do their job.

Smart headlight - hillman

I don't know the A12, but I agree with the sentiment. I read somewhere that the human eyes is at its most effective with yellow light. I don't usually have much of a problem with the average headlight with tungsten bulbs. They look yellow compared to the new type of headlights which are coloured white, which I do have trouble with. I know that some LEDs for general lighting are produced with a 'warm white' colour. I'd don't suppose it beyond the makers to produce an LED of colour that mimics the tungsten bulb.

Does any of the BRs know what the law is now concerning the brightness of lights and the distribution ? In yesteryear I've seen the MOT tester with a headlight testing device that would indicate if the light was not adjusted correctly.

If the users say that they need the brightness to be able to drive fast, and in the process dazzling others, the original culprit will be dazzled in turn by like minded drivers travelling in the other direction. The whole thing is a safety issue.

 

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