News - Ford

Ford's bright idea could shine the way

Seeing around corners: Ford's LED lights will star on the Lincoln concept.

Ford is using new lighting technology on two of its Detroit show cars

Ford logo30 Dec 2005

HEADLIGHTS will take on a whole new meaning if Ford gets its way.

The new Ford-owned Lincoln range of vehicles in North America will feature state-of-the-art adaptive headlights and will be showcased at the North American International Auto Show next week.

Ford will show off a new Lincoln concept sedan, reportedly a replacement for the LS sedan, and crossover all-wheel drive featuring the latest adaptive lighting.

Ford's own figures show that in the United States more than 20 per cent of all fatal accidents occurred between midnight and 6am, a period that accounts for only 2.4 per cent of daily traffic volume, so headlights are important.

It's not drivers who are in danger either as a 2003 study by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), found that almost half of all fatal pedestrian accidents also occur at night.

The Lincoln concept sedan features the next generation of adaptive lighting, which features sequential LED lighting that use no moving parts.

The concept's headlights combine two independent light sources: a high-output halogen projector for the main beam and a secondary row of light emitting diodes (LEDs) that stretch around the sides of the vehicle.

"The way the optics in this system work together has not been seen before in the exterior lighting world," according to Ford engineer, Mahendra Dassanayake.

The system senses when the vehicle is approaching a curve and directs the row of LEDs to switch on sequentially.

As the vehicle turns, the LEDs illuminate at a rate and intensity determined by the degree and speed of the turn.

Electronic sensors analyse inputs from the steering wheel and the vehicle speed to determine how and when to illuminate the LEDs.

The LEDs automatically switch off when the road straightens out. Meanwhile, the main beam continues to illuminate the overall road.

Ford says the system could be in volume production within three years.

The crossover's lighting design follows similar systems in use on European cars and features halogen projector-beam headlamps, mounted in a cage that pivots from left to right.

Based on vehicle speed and steering wheel angle, an electric motor swivels the cage, shifting the light pattern as much as 11m left or right in a curve.

The Lincoln concept sedan will also features some revolutionary new alloys.

The car's massive 20-inch wheels feature a five+five spoke design and multiple finishes, which can either give the impression of five-spoke sportiness or 10-spoke classiness depending on how they're configured.

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