Say hello to the superhero of headlights with life-saving powers. Ford is developing new lighting tech that will enable drivers to more easily identify potential hazards, including pedestrians, cyclists and animals in the dark.

The Blue Oval’s Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting System can widen the beam at junctions and roundabouts to better illuminate hazards that are not in the direction of travel. New Spot Lighting tech helps draw the driver’s attention to pedestrians, cyclists and even large animals in the vehicle’s path or even just off the road.

Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting System builds upon today’s Adaptive Front Lighting System and Traffic Sign Recognition. The system also uses GPS info to better illuminate bends and dips on a chosen route. Where GPS info is not available, the system uses a forward-facing video camera mounted in the rear-view mirror base to detect lane markings and predict the road’s curvature, using the info to illuminate more effectively.

In those instances, the camera stores the info in the navigation system. When next the driver uses the same road again, the headlights adapt to the course of the road automatically to better light the way.

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Spot Lighting, currently in the pre-development phase with Ford engineers in Germany – uses an infrared camera in the front grille to simultaneously locate and track up to eight people and bigger animals, including larger dogs, based on body heat at a range of up to 120 metres.

It can spotlight two hazards for the driver with a spot and a stripe on the road surface, illuminated by two special LED lamps next to the fog lamps. The highlighted objects are displayed on the screen inside the car, marked in a red or yellow frame, according to the proximity of the object and the level of danger presented. The driver gains two or three seconds to react to the objects, which can be used to brake and/or steer away from trouble, Ford says.

Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Ford expects the Camera-Based Advanced Front Lighting System, currently a prototype, to be available for customers “in the near term”.

Currently available headlamp systems are Dynamic LED Headlights (full-LEDs with Adaptive Front Lighting, system adjusts beam angle and intensity to match driving environment), Glare-Free Highbeam (detects vehicles ahead and fades out light that could dazzle oncoming drivers, while retaining max illumination for other areas) and Auto High Beam Control (detects oncoming vehicles and auto switches to dipped beam).