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PARIS SHOW: Visteon launches adaptive headlight system on new Ford Focus

By just-auto.com editorial team | 23 September 2004

The redesigned Ford Focus, launched at the Paris motor show on Thursday, is the world's first vehicle to use Visteon Corporation's 'Advanced Front Lighting System' (AFS). Available as an option, AFS is claimed to improve driver visibility at night.

Statistics show that around 40% of severe car accidents occur during the night, the supplier said in a statement. Adaptive lighting, or the ability for headlamps to bend light into corners, can help improve visibility and, according to independent tests conducted by the German technical institute TUV, adaptive lighting contributes to improved road safety.

In contrast to conventional static halogen headlamps, the halogen AFS headlamps are designed to adjust light distribution according to vehicle speed and direction. The low beam swivels dynamically and can significantly improve illumination in curves and while turning at intersections in urban areas.

The TUV tests showed the adaptive halogen lamps provided drivers with improved lighting, particularly when tackling narrow bends or when vision was impaired. AFS also enhanced drivers' vision of objects at the edges of bends or corners. The tests illustrated that the technology allowed drivers to recognise more than 70% of objects, compared with 46% when driving vehicles with conventional headlamps.

Features of Visteon's AFS technology include:

· In-house developed software which uses inputs from steering wheel and vehicle speed sensors to precisely tailor the lighting pattern according to speed and road configuration;

· A light beam pattern that illuminates road boundaries at low and high speed;

· Asymmetrical movement of headlights to ensure maximum forward illumination for the driver, as well as projecting a light beam in corners;

· A control module that houses the control strategy for the adaptive front lighting system;

· A control module that also controls headlamp levelling (level control is mandatory in most EU countries)

· A vehicle sensor that detects changes in speed, direction or other manufacturer-specified driving conditions.

Visteon's AFS system is based on an in-house-developed algorithm that controls the headlights' actuation. A central 16-bit processor receives data from the steering wheel sensor, speed sensor and axle sensor to precisely direct the headlight beams in real-time. An integrated damping programme smoothes out any imprecise steering inputs.