Ford's experimental headlight technology projects information onto the road ahead

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,340   +165
Staff member
In brief: Ford's European division is testing new headlight technology designed to help keep drivers' eyes on the road. Dubbed high-resolution headlights, the tech is loosely based on existing heads-up displays that project helpful information onto the windshield in front of the driver. Ford's idea goes one step further by using the headlights to project even more information onto the road in front of the vehicle.

A teaser video demonstrates the headlights projecting information like speed limits, navigation-based turn arrows and weather conditions as well as a warning about an upcoming roundabout. Another possibility could see the headlights paint a path to ensure cyclists are passed at a safe distance.

The tech could even help drivers nail a tough parking job by projecting the correct driving line to take, or highlight the width of the vehicle to help determine if it can fit in a gap or parking space. When stopped, the system could project a virtual crosswalk for pedestrians in situations where existing painted road markings are faded.

Ford's idea could be helpful under certain circumstances, but it could also open a whole new can of worms that the Blue Oval is not ready to deal with.

On a dark country backroad with no other vehicles around, it is easy to see how this feature could be beneficial to drivers. Move to a busy freeway with other cars also using the same tech and you are suddenly in the midst of what sounds like a very distracted driving environment.

Worse yet, imagine a nightmare scenario where someone hacks the system to project the wrong turn arrows. You're cruising along and see an arrow indicating the road is about to turn left when in reality, the path unexpectedly veers to the right.

Ford's projecting headlights may also have to contend with different legal regulations in different markets.

Ford won't be the first to market with this sort of tech. Mercedes already offers a similar tech called Digital Light on select models like the S Class.

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yRaz

Posts: 4,628   +5,597
Please don't. Maybe have a warning light on the dash popup but this is just bad news. Just imagine multiple cars like this on the road with the stuff on the road distracting OTHER drivers. Important information is often printed on the road for drivers. I see 3 major issues with this. The most obvious, distracting other drivers. 2) people start ignoring stuff they see on the road because "it might just be another car printing stuff on the road. 3) Drivers missing important information because of this and causing accidents.
 

p51d007

Posts: 3,309   +2,917
Good lord...I know they want to "automate" vehicles and take the drivers out of the equation, but
if your brain isn't good enough to know what is 500 feet in front of you (average distance for headlights), other than something like an animal or walking person/bicycle jumping in front of your vehicle, you SHOULD NOT be driving!
Between "infotainment" systems, phones, kids, other passengers, there are enough distractions in vehicles.
 

acoustis

Posts: 12   +6
Looks like we all agree here. This is the first article I liked every single comment (save one I didn't get the point, sorry RudyBob).
Absolutely not a good idea. For my taste.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,842   +7,760
Ford needs to quit d*cking around trying to morph the ubiquitous mini van's cockpit into that of an F-35, (at presumably similar cost).

What it needs to concern itself with is, vehicle interoperability, concerning headlight aim and brightness, with regards to the shutting down or re-aiming of an oncoming vehicle's headlights.

Let's face it, this generation of, "road warriors", are far too ignorant, too stupid, too inconsiderate, or too self involved, to dim their high beams when approaching a car in the opposite direction. A fact which is compounded by the present quest for ever brighter, vastly more blinding, headlight bulbs.

So, if a driver is too much of an a**hole to dim his or her lights as they pass, make the car do it for them.
 
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captaincranky

Posts: 18,842   +7,760
Looks like we all agree here. This is the first article I liked every single comment (save one I didn't get the point, sorry RudyBob).
"We can rebuild him, etc", was an excerpt from the lead in to the TV series, "The Six Million Man".

I agree that the metaphor was quite abstract, and it may be that the show was, "before your time". (Young people sometimes don't "wrap their heads around" some of my references either).

Here's that series intro:

 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 1,358   +1,239
Sheesh no wonder they want autonomous cars. they have already dumbed done cars so much, the driver is becoming redundant. More useless trash tech for the sake of trash tech that adds to cost and more reliability issues. So sick of this crap.
 

MakeMSGreatAgain

Posts: 33   +28
Ford can't even aim their headlamps correctly... the last thing they need is more technology. Auto manufacturers need to take a step back and and try to sell us stuff we like/want, not useless crap we DON'T like or want.

IMO as its been said, a HUD is a much better option, and should really be standard on every car.
 
You guys are totally missing the big picture and why this may come our way, like it or not...

Ad Revenue

You're driving along and a symbol for a fountain drink appears on the road followed a moment later by "Aren't you thirsty?" A few moments later, the "Golden Arches" appear on the street with a right turn arrow next to it, suggesting you take the next right.

Better yet, you get GPS directions to some primo store you want to shop at. However, a competitor has paid a lot of cash, so instead, the on-road directions reroute you to their store instead.

And, with enough cars having this tech, how long before streets are like modern websites, where you visually ignore 70% of what you see because of all the ads placed by everyone's cars, missing the "right turn only" or "lane ends 1000 feet" markers the DoT placed there with actual paint?

More and more cars are becoming WiFi hotspots, so they have Internet access. Where there is Internet, there is money to be made.