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Ford and Ansys Are Developing Predictive Smart Headlights

Ford and Ansys Are Developing Predictive Smart Headlights
Engineering simulation software provider Ansys and automaker Ford are collaborating to develop predictive smart headlights in order to improve nighttime driving conditions. (Credit: Ansys)

Engineering simulation software provider Ansys and automaker Ford are collaborating to develop predictive smart headlights in order to improve nighttime driving conditions.

Ansys’ vehicle headlight simulation software AVxcelerate Headlamp can reproduce vehicle lighting with high accuracy, enabling Ford engineers to validate headlamp performance in a virtual environment and greatly reduce the need for time-consuming and costly road tests.

Driving at night or in low light conditions reduces visibility, making it more difficult to react to a pedestrian, wild animal, or sudden turn. Therefore, Ford is currently testing new smart headlights that use geolocation to predictively direct the light beams to the turn ahead before the driver enters it. This improves visibility and optimizes reaction time to hazards.

These advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) significantly enhance the functionality of vehicles. However, they need to be tested in an increasing number of scenarios, making the use of physical prototypes and experimental testing increasingly complex. To address this, Ford relies on Ansys’ AVxcelerate Headlamp software, which includes an optical simulator and a real-time driving simulator to create highly realistic nighttime driving scenarios. As a result, engineers can use simulation results to identify potential errors early in the design process and improve headlamp performance well before prototypes are manufactured.

Michael Koherr, Advanced Lighting Research Engineer at Ford of Europe explained:

“Being able to evaluate the actual performance of the lighting system in a fully virtual environment allows us to identify areas for improvement in our products well in advance of the physical testing phase. In this way, simulation plays and will continue to play a key role in our quest to make nighttime driving as easy and safe as daytime driving.”

For Shane Emswiler, vice president of products at Ansys,

“Ford’s smart headlights are a perfect example of how simulation can be a catalyst for innovation and safety. With our solutions, Ford engineers can quickly test their design under a variety of scenarios and lighting conditions to ensure that the first physical prototype will meet their expectations for function and performance. Ultimately, this accelerates product design to reduce accidents and save lives.”

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