Engineers from Ford Research and Advanced Engineering Europe are testing a technology that uses the navigation system to know the road geometry ahead and uses its location data in real time to predictively adjust the headlights to the road ahead. The system swivels the headlights around bends to illuminate them more effectively. The driver can therefore see the course of the road at an early stage, even in the dark, and recognise possible dangers as well as other road users such as cyclists or pedestrians.
The prototype of this lighting system uses GPS location data and highly precise road topography information to precisely identify curves on the road ahead. An algorithm calculates values according to the road geometry and the speed of the vehicle to adjust the headlight for optimal illumination of curves and intersections. In this way, even dangers can be detected that are lurking "around the corner", so to speak, and which with conventional systems only appear in the headlights much later for the driver to see. If no location data is available on the road, the system uses camera- and steering angle-based headlamp turning technologies to continue to illuminate the route as best as possible until GPS location signals can be received again.
The researchers used a simulation that replicates the real world in a virtual environment. The simulation environment calculates the correct reflection of the headlamp light as in the real world, allowing the researchers to realistically visualise the lighting technology and optimise it in terms of road safety.