Ford launches self-lighting electronic high-visibility panels for Transit and Transit Custom

  • New Ford high-vis panels that don’t rely on reflecting other light
  • Instead they are electronically illuminated using aerospace technology
  • Designed to improve safety for all kinds of road-side workers

Ford has some new tech that might just make roadside workers safer: electronic high-visibility panels that are self-illuminating so that they no-longer need any other light source in order to be effective. The light-up red stripes are available to order for Transit and Transit Custom models now.

The new technology brings so-called ‘Chapter 8 compliant’ markings bang up to date, and could easily save lives.

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What’s new about the Ford electronic high-vis panels?

Currently the chevron markings you see on the back of vans rely on being reflective in order to be visible to other road users – which means they rely on those road users having their lights on in the dark, which can’t be guaranteed. They’re also less effective when approached from round a corner.

The new electronic versions that Ford has developed pass electricity through a thin layer of phosphorus gas, causing them to illuminate in a gentle but obvious fashion once a switch fitted behind the driver’s seat is activated.

Ford electronic high-visibility panels - close-up

Similar technology is already used in aeroplane cockpits and in screens for medical and military equipment.

While you’d expect many roadside workers – including car breakdown repair technicians, utilities maintenance and those working on the roads themselves – to already have flashing yellow beacon lights or similar. But every bit of extra visibility helps, especially as these people often find themselves in high-risk locations.

‘Roadside working is a necessary and sometimes dangerous part of the job for many of our customers,’ said chief program engineer, Special Vehicle Engineering, Ford of Europe, Simon Robinson.

‘We want to ensure that what is often essential work can be carried out as safely and effectively as possible. Creating panels that can be illuminated without having to rely on other sources of light was literally a ‘light bulb’ moment.’

How did Ford develop the new tech?

It was trialled in collaboration with Northumbrian Water Group, with engineers able to check on their effectiveness in real-world situations as a result.

Northumbrian Water Group – which includes Essex & Suffolk Water – is now the first commercial customer for the new technology.

Northumbrian Water Group’s transport manager, Kate Wilson said: ‘I’m delighted to see an idea that stemmed from our drivers working in partnership with Ford’s product innovation team come to life.

‘It will improve safety not only in our sector, but in future fleets across the world, and I know that it will make our teams who work in dangerous roadside environments feel safer and much more visible to our customers.’

How much do the Ford electronic high-visibility panels cost?

Pricing starts at £1,200 excluding VAT, which works out at £1,440 including VAT.

Also read:

>> Ford reveals electric van plans

>> Ford launches social distancing protection screens as anti-COVID-19 measure

>> Read a Ford van review on Parkers

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