Drivers who spend lots of time traversing dark highways will know how much of a difference flicking the high-beams on can make, but there's always the risk that you'll forget to dip them for oncoming traffic. Ford's new Glare-Free Highbeam system is aimed at tackling the problem by tracking other road users and adapting the shape of the beam to spare them a case of flash blindness.
Just like Volvo's anti-dazzle headlamps and Mercedes' adaptive high-beam assistant, Ford's system uses a camera mounted behind the windscreen to detect the headlights or taillights of cars and bikes up to 800 m (2,625 ft) up the road. When another vehicle is detected, the system communicates with the car's dynamic LED headlamps, which then adjust the headlight beam intensity and angle.
Just how much adjustment the Glare-Free system makes to the beam is calculated based on speed, the amount of ambient light around, steering angle, how far away the car in front is and whether or not the windscreen wipers are activated.To make sure drivers don't miss out on the benefits of the system, it's automatically activated in low light, which means you don't need to be particularly bright to use it.
"We found that some drivers are so concerned about dazzling other road users that they don't use high beam at all," says Ford research engineer, Michael Koherr. "Ford's Glare-Free Highbeam technology can remove that stress for drivers, and softly transitioning between settings also helps the driver's eyes adjust faster to changing quantities of light."
The system is available on the new S-Max and Galaxy, and will also feature on the upcoming Edge SUV.
The video below gives an overview of the system.