Brake Brainstorm: Ford announces patent for brake light detection system

Toronto, Ontario – While federal regulations in the United States require that new cars be sold with clearly visible built in brake lights, Ford has recently filed a patent to take this idea to another level. 

On Sept. 14, it was announced that Ford has filed a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for an automotive brake light system that could help improve the performance of driver assist systems and potentially future autonomous vehicles. 

The patent describes how lidar and camera systems could be used to scan the road ahead of a vehicle while internal software would simultaneously interpret the readings to determine if a vehicle’s brake lights are on. 

The patent lists the potential applications of this technology as aiding in preventing an autonomous vehicle from accelerating if a traffic light has turned green, but other cars in front of the vehicle have not yet moved. 

Moreover, this feature of reading other vehicles’ brake signals could be useful if a traffic light was not working properly or in low light settings where a driver cannot clearly determine other driver’s light signals. 

As always, this patent may never make it to a development stage, but the idea still shows that there are many directions that could be taken when it comes to the future development of autonomous vehicles. 


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