21 June 2018

Fighter jet tech for Focus solves glare problem

Technology first developed for fighter jets is helping to improve the driving experience for the new Focus that offers Ford’s first Head-up display for Europe, writes Trish Whelan.

The display will make it easier for drivers to keep their eyes on the road as they monitor information including speed, navigation and road signs on a display that is projected to overlay the view ahead.

For some existing systems there can be a drawback - for those drivers wearing polarised sunglasses which counteract glare, the display can be rendered almost invisible. Ford’s Head-up display also emts the kind of light that polarised sunglasses are designed to eliminate from view. But a carefully tuned filter ‘bounces back’ polarised light to the driver and effectively solves the problem.

Wearing polarised glasses can make a massive difference to visibility for drivers affected by glare, such as when stretches of water, snow or even tarmac reflect sunlight. The Head-up display we are introducing for the new Focus offers one of the brightest screens, has among the largest fields of view, and will be clearly visible to all our customers,” said Glen Goold, Ford’s chief programme engineer for Focus.

You can watch the video on https://youtu.be/Uzn4Uz2cml0

Driving into low sun on summer evenings can be a problem and can cause almost twice as many accidents as snow, rain and fog put together. Ford’s Head-up ensures drivers will not need to glance down and refocus to see the information and notifications that they can select.

While traditional head-up displays utilise light waves vibrating parallel to the road, the Focus Head-up display boosts light waves vibrating perpendicular to the road so the image can be clearly seen through polarised sunglasses. 

The new Focus has been developed from the ground up to provide ‘the most confidence-inspiring, intuitive, and rewarding driving and occupant experience of any mid-size family car in Europe’. It features the widest range of advanced features and technologies on any Ford vehicle, enhance protection, driving and parking, and are designed to make the driving experience more comfortable, less demanding, and safer.

Note: Some sunglasses sold for general use can be too dark or unsuitable for driving. In some countries, drivers can be fined for wearing ‘category four’ sunglasses which let in less than 8 per cent of light.