lighting technology

Scandinavia, where Volvo originated from and still has its home, has longer periods of darkness than other parts of the planet. As such, Scandinavians tend to have a love for sunshine and also try to create environments which are bright (but in a tasteful way) in their design language.

Now Volvo is also bring sunlight into the car in a way that will enhance the feeling of wellbeing when travelling. Particularly in the winter darkness, the cabin becomes a welcome space to enter with a hint of sunshine becoming a ritual to start the day like each sunrise.


Ford has always urged drivers to keep ‘eyes forward and hands on the wheel’. It’s obvious that maintaining attention on the road ahead is important to immediately spot any danger. At the same time, both hands should be on the steering wheel to always be able to take avoiding action in an emergency. That’s why using a mobilephone when driving is dangerous and in many countries, an offence.

Over the years, various technologies have been introduced to help drivers stay focussed ahead. Head-up Displays (HUDs) are one of them, the technology having been taken from fighter aircraft. By projecting important information on the windscreen, the driver can be informed while still looking ahead.

Now Ford researchers have developed a new headlight technology that could help ensure those behind the wheel literally keep their eyes on the road. The new technology can project directions, speed limits or weather information onto the road so the driver keeps looking ahead.

The technology is intended for use at night, of course, as that is when driving can be riskier. Statistics in the UK show that 40% of collisions happen during the hours of darkness, even though there are far fewer people driving than in the daytime.

This risk is increased whenever a driver takes their eyes off the road. A vehicle travelling at 90 km/h covers 25 metres per second, meaning even a short glance at the navigation screen on the dashboard can result in ‘driving blind’ for 10 metres or more. On an unlit road, this could potentially mean missing an important sign or a bend in the road.


Ford’s researchers have therefore come up with a system that projects important information onto the road using high-resolution headlights. The technology could even provide the driver with information about changes in weather, such as rain falling, fog, slippery conditions, or a slippery road ahead.

Connecting the headlight to the navigation system could display upcoming turns, while the width of the vehicle could be projected onto the road, helping the driver to judge whether the vehicle will fit through a gap or into a parking space.

The technology  could benefit other road users too. For example, a pedestrian crossing could be projected onto the road, both for the view of the driver and the pedestrian, in situations where the existing road markings are faded or unclear. Other possibilities include showing a path for the driver to follow to ensure cyclists are passed at a safe distance.

“What started as playing around with a projector light and a blank wall could take lighting technologies to a whole new level. There’s the potential now to do so much more than simply illuminate the road ahead, to help reduce the stress involved in driving at night. The driver could get essential information without ever needing to take their eyes off the road,” said Lars Junker, Features and Software, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, Ford of Europe.

Visit www.bhpetrol.com.my for more information.

The built-in headlights in every car today have been around for about 100 years and over the decades, the lighting systems have evolved to make the illumination stronger, giving a better view of the road or ground ahead. From making headlights more powerful, the engineers have also been making them operate ‘intelligently so that optimum illumination is achieved with changing conditions.

Driving in the dark can be stressful, especially on unfamiliar, winding roads. Ford is therefore working on a new technology to increase comfort and safety when driving after sunset. The company has already done pioneering work in the camera-based recognition of traffic signs and lane markings to optimize headlights in order to better illuminate streets in the dark, especially at intersections.

Now, engineers from Ford Research and Advanced Engineering Europe are testing technology that uses real-time location data to effectively show the car the way to go. The predictive ‘smart’  headlight system directs beams into upcoming corners – even before drivers may have seen them, illuminating hazards and other road-users more quickly and effectively.

How it works
The prototype advanced lighting system uses GPS location data, advanced technologies and highly accurate street geometry information to accurately identify turns in the road ahead. An algorithm calculates the trajectory and speed of the vehicle to proactively adjust the direction of its headlights, providing optimal light coverage of bends, junctions – and even hazards lurking around the corner.

If the vehicle encounters a stretch of road where location data is not available, the system will work alongside camera and steering‑based dynamic headlight-bending technologies to continue to intelligently light the road until the location data improves.

Researchers have made extensive use of ‘digital twin’ simulation that recreates the physical world in a virtual environment. The simulator accurately calculates how light falls and reflects in the real world, enabling researchers to better visualise and optimise the technology for drivers. The Ford researchers used a simulation that reproduces the real world in a virtual environment. The simulation environment calculates the correct reflection of the headlights as in the real world, so that the researchers can visualize the lighting technology realistically and optimize it in terms of traffic safety.

“The predictive lighting technology we are now developing could one day make driving in the dark so easy that the driver basically just has to follow his headlights,” said Michael Koherr, Lighting Research Engineer, Ford of Europe. “This new map and location-based system is the next step in our search for how we can make driving at night as easy as it is during the day.”

Road Edge Detection – available today
The advanced lighting technology will complement another new technology that Ford has developed which can be especially useful on rural roads at night – Road Edge Detection. Roads in rural areas can be tricky as they may not only lack proper lane markings but also give way to open land, muddy ditches and sheer drops.

Ford’s new technology can help make rural driving easier as Road Edge Detection scans the road ahead and can gently steer the vehicle back on track when needed. Designed for use at speeds of 70 – 110 km/h, Road Edge Detection relies on a camera located below the rearview mirror to monitor road edges 50 metres in front of the vehicle and 7 metres to the side.

How it works
Where a paved road becomes a soft side, gravel hard shoulder or grass, the system provides gentle steering support as required to prevent the vehicle from drifting off the carriageway. The system features an advanced algorithm that determines when there are clear structural changes from the road to the area beside the road. It can also provide steering support on marked roads when the lane marking is obscured or hidden by snow, leaves or rain.

If the driver is still close to the edge following initial steering support, the system vibrates the steering wheel, to prompt the driver to steer. At night, the system uses the illumination from the headlights and functions as effectively as during the day.

While predictive lighting technology is still under development, Road Edge Detection is already available in Europe on certain models and will be offered in more models in future the way advanced safety systems like Pre-Collision Assist and Automatic Emergency Braking have been progressively included in almost all models.

To experience Ford’s safety technologies, ask any authorised Ford dealer for a test-drive. To locate a dealership in Malaysia, visit www.sdacford.com.my.

New Ford Ranger Raptor X Special Edition Redefines The Pick-Up Truck

Like Volvo (and Saab), Polestar is a Swedish brand and ‘lives’ in a region with a lot of snow and ice as well as long periods of darkness in the winter months. As such, the cars that it has developed would have received a lot of extra attention relating to grip, stability and of course cabin insulation, among other things. After all, the engineers who go to work daily experience extremely cold and slippery conditions which they would want to ensure the cars they develop are safe in such conditions.

Lighting is also very important, not only to illuminate the road ahead but also make the car visible to others. Even in the daytime, the lighting levels may be low, reducing when it snows. So the designers also pay extra attention to the lighting systems and the Polestar 2 electric performance fastback gets highly advanced lighting technology.

Pixel LED Headlights
For example, the Polestar 2 ‘Launch Edition’ comes with standard Pixel LED headlights, an active high beam technology as well as a ‘welcome sequence’ that activates when the vehicle is unlocked. A total of 84 individual LED pixels form a matrix in each lamp; within this matrix, each LED is controlled individually.

In turn, this allows the headlights to shade out their light in the path of up to 5 leading or oncoming vehicles when in motion. The functionality allows the driver to leave their lights on high beam, enabling maximum forward visibility at all times without blinding other road users, and without having to think about switching between modes.

“When you drive Polestar 2, especially in the dark, you really understand how much this technology increases safety,” explained Polestar CEO, Thomas Ingenlath. “LED lighting also allows for creativity, and the light signatures we have designed are unmistakable. They are distinctive and people will know you are driving a Polestar.”

Front foglights with cornering support utilize energy efficient LED technology and activate automatically at low speeds according to steering or turn signal input, further enhancing visibility when maneuvering the vehicle.

Intelligent rear lighting technology
At the rear of the Polestar 2, the signature rear lighting has no less than 288 LEDs in a distinctive full-width wrap-around light bar, featuring unique welcome and farewell lighting sequences. The rear light bar includes adaptive lighting technology. In daylight, the brightness is increased to ensure optimal visibility of the light signature. At night, the LEDs automatically dim to prevent drivers behind from being dazzled.

Only if regulations permit
Pixel LED technology is available for all markets but only if regulations allow. At present, regulations in the USA do not allow such functionality so the cars sold there will not have it. However, should the regulations change in future, the feature can be activated with a software update. Owners won’t even have to bring their cars to a service centre for this as it can be transmitted over-the-air (OTA) free of charge. OTA updates for other systems can also be provided, ensuring that the car operates optimally all the time.

Polestar 2

Polestar 1 production underway in Chengdu, China


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