Expect a bold new look from future Lincoln products.
CarBuzz has learned that Ford Global Technologies has a new patent published with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for its take on illuminated fascias on the front and rear of a vehicle, previewing hidden lighting technology for future cars. The imagery depicts something from the Lincoln brand's lineup, all of which will have some form of electrification by 2030.
The current Lincoln Navigator already has an illuminated logo in the center of its front grille, but this patent wants to cast light upon the entire grille, or in the case of electric cars, the panel between the headlights where a traditional grille would reside. In practice, it may look something like the fascia seen on the Model L100 Concept.
The patent details a design where the source of light - be that individual light emitting diodes, an LED strip, RGB LEDs, ultraviolet charging LED strips, or a combination of the lot - would be hidden well behind the applique cover and would not extend beyond its perimeter. This is done to protect the light source from damage and dirt, with reflectors used to propagate the light around the grille.
While this patent doesn't show us anything too revolutionary, there are some exciting ways in which the system may be used. For example, if the applique cover utilizes long persistence phosphor material and the light source includes UV charging LED strips, the car's fascia could emit light after the car is switched off completely. We saw a different use of this tech a little more than a year ago when Ford filed to protect illuminated fenders that act as storage units.
The patent goes on to say that this could emit light in different colors and in different directions (white at the front of the car and red at the rear, for example). The use of RGB LEDs could allow a user to define the colors emitted by the grille using the infotainment system or a mobile app. Obviously, the panel could also act as an additional daytime running light system or could be adapted to add to the existing turn signal indicator systems already employed on the vehicle. Brake lights, reverse lights, hazard lights, and other traditional lighting functions could also be carried out by the system.
Another idea is that the system could emit light as confirmations: "For example, when a user locks the vehicle, the light source could blink three times in a red color, and then fade to a color [chosen] by the user," reads the patent. A Tesla-like light show is also specifically mentioned.
Using the lighting system as a welcome feature is another obvious novelty this system could facilitate, but it could also act as a reminder when you exit the car. The documentation explains: "Upon turning off and exiting the vehicle, a farewell feature will function. In the event the key fob is left in the vehicle and the vehicle is locked [using a keyless entry system, an app, or the SecuriCode keypad], the light source can blink alternately between red and white and a horn of the vehicle will sound until the key fob is retrieved from the vehicle."
The system is said to be scalable, and the design "is also flexible for rear applique covers," suggesting that it's viable for use on future production cars. Notably, the system could be adapted to traditional grilles, which means we may see its use on hybrid Lincolns or gas-powered Fords too.
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