back to article Bright lights, affordable motor: Ford puts LED headlights onto Mondeo

Ford has announced its first car with dynamic LED headlights, which apparently provide as much light as Xenon bulbs – and last for the lifetime of the vehicle. Because LEDs are very much smaller than traditional bulbs, they can affect the whole design of the front end of a car. Ford is trumpeting the freedom it gives them in …

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Daytime running lights

Aren't they required by EU law now?

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Re: Daytime running lights

I think the EU linked to the car's age - AFAIK, new cars must have it.

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Re: Daytime running lights

Yes, I think it is to do with whether the model of car was type-approved before or after February 2011.

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Happy

Re: Daytime running lights

They have been required in many countries for many many years. That "invention" originally came from the USA where Greyhound busses started to use them all day. They where able to show that it improved safety for their busses. I am 100% convinced it does that. A car with lights is a moving object and will appear more agressive and closer coming against you also you will notice the car behind you more easily.

A very clever invention used in the more clever countries.

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Re: Daytime running lights

Oh! I was wondering why I'm seeing more cars wasting energy like this these days.... I thought we'd been invaded by Sweden or something.

In bright, clear weather (which admittedly is often not the case here in the UK) I don't need to see lights to know if a vehicle is moving, I errr, just see that it's moving.

I suppose this is yet another driving dumbing down for those morons who don't think to use their lights in heavy rain, or, duuur, at night

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Re: Daytime running lights

And I thought it was just to accellerate global warming.

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Re: Daytime running lights

No, a shortsighted invention which reduces road safety.

It draws attention to the subset of vehicles that have them, hence the improved safety for the early adopters. Like any road safety improvments, that attention doesn't come from nowhere - it's diverted from vehicles with less light. This makes it a one time journey, as Sweden has found : the only way to keep the improvements is to keep increasing the light levels. While pedestrians, cyclists, animals etc fade into the background.

The reason those DRLs lights exist is not to do with safety. The clueless politicicians and daily mail safety writers have been tapped to support them, but the real reason is bling - car designers trying to make this year's model stand out.

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Re: Daytime running lights

"No, a shortsighted invention which reduces road safety.". I fully agree. For some years motorcyclists in almost all countries of the EU have had to ride with their headlights on in daytime to make them stand out from all the other traffic. Putting daylight running lights on all vehicles removes this protective advantage from one of the most vulnerable class of road user. Well done all those politicians who don't bother to think things through.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Daytime running lights

My Focus has those LED daytime lamps and ambient lighting which incidentally I can change the colour of. Don't like the eyebrows and never have and as for the ambient lighting....

A distraction.

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Happy

Re: Daytime running lights

@Jamie Jones

Hard to get it, is it. A car with headlights on is easier to detect. For similar reasons aeroplans, ships, emergency vehiles and similar use lights too in daylight. You did however mention the "morons who don't think to use their lights", also that problem dissapears in Nordic countries as the lights go on when you start the engine. To my surprise even many Russians have adopted. Even if there is no such law.

Trust me James I know more about this than you do, did you have prooblems with the logic behind safety belts too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Daytime running lights

Downvoted for telling the world how successful your life is...... by owing a Focus

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Re: Daytime running lights

If we're talking about just the transition period then there's also the retroactive interference issue: a responsible person who is otherwise a very good driver recently visited us here in the US and was pulled over for driving in the evening without his headlights on. As you've guessed, it's because his car at home is automated but his rental wasn't.

He'd even complained just a few minutes earlier that he was having difficulty seeing anything, without the penny dropping...

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Re: Daytime running lights

Sadly my eyes are not as good as they used to be. Others start out with bad eye sight. Then there are the problems of driving into a sun set. All, and more, apply day and night come rain, come shine. Running lights are not just an EU mandated plot to waste energy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Daytime running lights

Agreed. While I am fortunate enough to have 20:20 vision and can safely say that DRLs have no effect whatsoever on my ability to see a car, how quickly it is travelling and in which direction, I am also aware that there are other people on this planet other than myself, and some, actually most of them have worse eyesight than I do.

In fact there exist people who actually have very poor eyesight. My grandmother is one of them. Years of suffering from cataracts has reduced her eyesight to being able to make out shapes and outlines when the contrast between objects is high.

High contrast? Here's a good idea. Why don't we make modern cars have front lights on all the time so that they can be seen by partially sighted people to stop them being killed and ruining the lives of the drivers who kill them? After all, modern sidelights are all LEDs and use fuck all power. Probably worth it to save a few lives.

The irony is that some of you morons are so blinded by your own prejudice that you can't see that this might not be about you at all and might be to help someone else. Go back to your Daily Mails.

Double irony is that my gran reads the Daily Mail. And is racist. She can see cars with their lights on though.

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Re: Daytime running lights

"In bright, clear weather (which admittedly is often not the case here in the UK) I don't need to see lights to know if a vehicle is moving, I errr, just see that it's moving."

In bright clear weather, if you're driving in a wooded lane, a car in shadow may be nearly invisible until it emerges from the shade. Addiitionally your eyes take a couple of second to adjust when going from bright to shaded areas.

In both cases, running lights give a few extra seconds warning - which is very useful, even if you're only travelling at 20mph.

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Happy

Re: Daytime running lights

"Hard to get it, is it. A car with headlights on is easier to detect. For similar reasons aeroplans, ships, emergency vehiles and similar use lights too in daylight."

Well, I don't see that many aeroplanes and ships on my local roads, and as for the emergency services, you've basically proved my point, (as admitedly articulated elsewhere by others) -- emergency services often need to break the speed limit, and go through red lights etc. They also need to be seen by the sort of drivers who typically wouldn't notice their presence unless they drove into them (you sound just like one of these)

So, how does this help the emergency services if *all* vehicles have their lights on?

This seems hard for you to get, old chap.

"You did however mention the "morons who don't think to use their lights", also that problem dissapears in Nordic countries as the lights go on when you start the engine."

Do you realise, yet again, you are supporting my argument here? Hard to tell.

"Trust me James I know more about this than you do, did you have prooblems with the logic behind safety belts too."

Condesending twatty comnent of the week right there, but so 'full of fail' as to be comically tragic.

1) My name, as on my birth certificate, and as clearly stated on this forum, is Jamie. I've never been called 'James' in any shape or form, so that smug assumption backfired.

2) You know fuck-all about my knowledge on the matter, although you yourself have demostrated that any knowledge you do have is due to being one of the aforementioned 'dumb motorists'

3) Enter strawman. Since when do seatbelts make emergency services less visible, along with cyclusts, and other road users? Since when does universal seatbelt adoption totally negate any possible advantage of gaving them? Since when do seatbelts waste energy and have the potential to incorrectly give somoene a false sense of security?

As "Adrian 4" and "John Arthur" mention above, far more eloquently than I could put it, the more this is rolled out, the more vulnerable other users get, and as it get's even more ubiquitous, it's effectively an arms race to remain effective.

And all this because apparently we allow people to drive when their eyesight isn't up to the job.

*smiley face back at ya! Have a nice day!*

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Re: Daytime running lights

"In bright clear weather, if you're driving in a wooded lane, a car in shadow may be nearly invisible until it emerges from the shade. Addiitionally your eyes take a couple of second to adjust when going from bright to shaded areas."

Indeed, and therefore a good reason to use your lights.

I also didn't mention tunnels, or times when there is a total solar eclipse, but I assumed I'd made the point that a responsible driver would use their lights when appropriate.

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Re: Daytime running lights

Another week another Monday and another superior being who, while only visiting earth for a short time appears to think he knows absolutely everything about life. As others have pointed out to you Jamie Jones, there are many people living on earth who lack eyesight well above the 20/20 vision limit such as you appear to think you have. Some are so poorly equipped they can be classified as legally blind in some countries, however, even they can sometimes detect moving lights. Humans show what is often called a spectrum of abilities, ranging from the lowest level of, e.g. visual capability to the very highest.

It may be of interest to check how many accident participants claim not to have seen other vehicles. Motorcyclists are not the only ones who often fail to be noticed, check your next drive and see how many apparently legal drivers fail to see you as you drive along. Given that well above 10% of road users, those with allegedly acceptable eye sight fail to see me on straight roads in day light I frequently resort to the use of dipped head light in an attempt to improve the odds of being seen.

Now I realised given your superior beliefs you will expect to take all of these failings in your stride. For the rest of us there are prudent steps we can and most do take. As for emergency vehicles; in addition to noisy horns and blue lights they have alternating head lights, this is due to recognition of a human factor. An apparently moving light jumping from side to side will be detected even more rapidly than one coming towards you. Since the emergency vehicle is likely to be moving faster than ordinary traffic increased detection speed is important perhaps, not for you, but for the other 99.9% of the population.

Sadly in spite of all the steps currently taken accidents still involve even emergency vehicles.

While the 5mph (or was it 15mph) buffers on American cars were not a success in reducing insurance claims, since they made any at or above the impact limit more expensive. Most safety measures are introduced after careful evaluation including tests over a wide range of conditions.

It always surprises me how many people are clearly in the wrong line of work given their strident views and widely based synthetic knowledge.

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Re: Daytime running lights

I agree that DRLs are a pretty pointless addition, and it encourages people only to check for light sources. If you can't see a giant chunk of metal flying at you, but you can now it has a few LEDs on it while in broad daylight, you probably need your eyes checked.

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Re: Daytime running lights

It used to be the dash lights would only come on when you turned on the headlamps, this was a nice reminder your headlamps were off if you could not see the speedo! Now with daytime lamps, the dash lights are always on, making people sometimes think their headlamps are on.

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Happy

Re: Daytime running lights

"Now with daytime lamps, the dash lights are always on" Not in the Nordic countries but I don't know how they work elsewhere. It's all about how that is wired in the car.

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WTF?

Re: Daytime running lights

Nor in the US...instrument lighting is in "daylight" mode unless headlamps are switched on.

And why all the hate for DRLs? A lighted vehicle is more noticeable in daylight than an unlighted one.

The energy wasted is minimal...a few hundred watt-hours, and will be less when LED headlamps are used (more efficient than halogen, and cheaper than HID).

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Mushroom

Re: Daytime running lights

@Lars the condescending twat

Jamie Jones is right, except that the mention of seatbelts is very relevant. It's fairly well known that the introduction of seatbelts reduced death and injury among car occupants, while increasing death and injury among other road users. Car drivers, feeling safer, tended to drive less carefully.

The view that making cars more visible is an important contribution to road safety is based on the view that "it's everybody else's responsibility to get out of my way if they know what's good for them" (the Toad of Toad Hall philosophy).

From the perspective of pedestrians and cyclists, being seen is at least as important as seeing motor vehicles. In a world where something has to be lit up like a Christmas tree, road users with limited or no lighting are more at risk.

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Re: Daytime running lights

" Now with daytime lamps, the dash lights are always on, making people sometimes think their headlamps are on."

That's not the case with our VW. Only turning side or headlights on illuminates the dash lighting. with the lights set to 'off' and the DRLs on (conventional bulbs, not LEDs on our car) only the needles are illuminated.

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Re: Daytime running lights

Yes I've noticed that: it used to be an easy reminder, if you can't see your speedo so well it's probably time to put your headlights on!

As for DRLs, I don't mind them in principle but some of the new cars seem to have ones so bright that it's really quite distracting to me in my rear view mirror when the car behind has them. In those situations I actually find them quite agressive.

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Anonymous Coward

Meanwhile, laser light appears

It appears LED lights are also not the end of the journey: Audi, BMW (has a nice explanation of the thinking behind it) and possibly others are working on laser light which apparently makes it possible to get a lot more light from an LED chip.

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Re: Meanwhile, laser light appears

Oh gawd, retina-searing xenon lights were bad enough, the last thing we need is a BMW with lasers mounted on the front.

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Re: Meanwhile, laser light appears

Don't worry, they'll be mounting them on frikkin' sharks first, for testing purposes.

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Re: Meanwhile, laser light appears

Oh gawd, retina-searing xenon lights were bad enough, the last thing we need is a BMW with lasers mounted on the front.

A "beamer" in more ways than one?

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Happy

Re: Meanwhile, laser light appears

Well done AC, you managed to paste a quote from a completely different article! http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/08/25/police_lie_to_public_about_law_on_terrorism_videos/

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Re: Meanwhile, laser light appears

oh, gawd

*bangs head on desk*

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Re: Meanwhile, laser light appears

Don't worry, as long as the lasers are being used as indicators then they'll never get fired.

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Coat

Re: Meanwhile, laser light appears

Won't be on sharks first but Hyundai Tiburons...

Mine's the one with the laser pointer in the pocket.

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So you can play various tricks with these - does that include being able to switch the headlight direction over when you are in in a country where they drive on the right?

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It wouldn't surprise me if that was indeed possible

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Stupid thing is that Xenon bulbs already have this ability! It's just not used that much.

The first 'new shape' V70s had a setting in the menu for left / right hand drive mode.

This changed over the model years to have to set it every trip

And my MY2011 has a manual switch meaning I have to remove the headlight unit (at least they made that easy - 5 min job, but you still get grime over your hands) when arriving at the Chunnel and flick a lever on the inside of the unit.

Very, very useful! But why remove the menu option!!!!!

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Would you do that by GPS, or by a camera recognising which side of the road you are driving on?

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KISS

I would keep it simple and have it as a menu option where you can say if you are driving at home or abroad. I appriciate that you can always forget to switch it back - but then you can with the manual system in the car already so I don't see much of a difference. Of course there could always be the warning on the dash when you start the car that the lights are not set up for the country the car is registered to so that you are always reminded.

Though if I was going for a more tech approach I think that I would choose the GPS over the camera - how would the camera cope with dual carriageways, or single track roads etc?

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Unhappy

Dazzle.

I applaud lighting innovation, there's also laser powered headlights (the laser shines on phosphorus which then glows), but there's one major issue I have with headlights getting smaller and brighter - dazzle.

To project the same amount of light as a larger headlight, a smaller headlight will appear brighter when looked at head on, ie night time traffic on the other side of the road, causing more dazzle than a larger headlight that produces the same light output

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Re: Dazzle.

While it was only AUDI/BMW/MERCEDES fitting these "retina-searing xenon lights" I assumed the dazzle factor was 100% intentional.

If Ford are joining in (albeit with LEDs) then perhaps it was incompetence after all.

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Re: Dazzle.

Also, if the indicator light is close to the headlamp, you won't be able to see if the indicator is flashing, as I've found out on a few occassions at night.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dazzle and indicators

If it was an LED headlight on an Audi or a BMW, it was more likely that the indicator wasn't used rather than dazzle....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dazzle.

I think dazzle is only a minor part of the problem. My car with small headlamps has an appalling lighting up the road performance. (about equal to a 1930s 6V motorcycle headlight). The beam patterns seem very poor compared to a Lucas 1970s sealed beam unit and the lighting performance is nowhere near a twin headlamp. Her newish Corsa with projector? headlights has much worse road illumination than the 1996 model it replaced.

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Re: Dazzle.

Smaller = more dazzle

I get dazzled by the ridiculously bright "points" of light from the current crop of pushbike headlamps.

I can generally see them over a mile away and sometimes they are brighter than the car light behind them - unless the car behind is an Audi with its side-lights on.

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Re: pushbike headlamps

Most night cyclists I see have poor or no lighting at all and you're right about the ones with ultra bright lights, dazzle from a further distance than cars and it gets worse when their lights are flashing because that makes it harder to work out just how far away they are.

I don't like the sharp narrow spotlights of the high power single chip LED lights which is why I made my own rig, it has 360x 3mm white LEDs that uses 10 watts in full beam mode, they produce a much nicer beamspread than typical high power LED bike lights. WIth the brightness control I mostly just use the center 60 for illumination and to let other road users I'm there, but I use all 360 on unlit roads and cycle tracks, plus it allows me to high-beam cars :)

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Re: Dazzle.

My Audi A5 has DRL's and when you turn on an indicator the LED's below it automatically dim. I'm sure something similar will happen with other manufacturers

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Re: Dazzle.

The problem with small headlights like LEDs making it harder to see the indicator near it is solved by adding indicators to each side mirrors. Initially this was done in the US on pickups and SUVs, but it is becoming more common on all cars. This is also useful for those behind, as they can more easily see if a vehicle ahead is signalling a turn.

Xenon headlights should not be a problem, at least not on Audis because they're auto leveling. Where I see problems with xenon is people who add them aftermarket. Lacking the auto leveling they're aimed where traditional headlights are, and will blind oncoming drivers, especially as they crest a hill. Maybe the Audis/BWMs/etc. in Europe don't have the auto-leveling Xenons? Pretty sure it is required by law in the US.

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