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How Do Follow Me Headlamps Work?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 23/11/2023

In more ways than one, the automotive industry has witnessed a paradigm shift in the past few years and has recognised the importance of focusing on safety features.

As Indian customers have become increasingly aware of the risks of road accidents, they have started to value these features in cars. And so, in addition to investing in motor insurance, Indian car buyers are willing to extend their budget for safety considerations.

With that in mind, follow-me headlamps have an important role to play when it comes to safety. Let’s understand the follow-me-home headlamps meaning.

What is a Follow-Me-Home Headlamp?

Follow-me headlamps (also known as guide-me headlamps) are the front headlamps switch that remains on for 10 to 15 seconds to illuminate your path once you have parked your vehicle.

This excellent safety feature in modern automobiles helps the driver and the passengers to safely navigate their path from the vehicle to their destination in low-light conditions or unfamiliar surroundings.

Usually, unknown parking spaces are different from what drivers may be used to, and if these places are not lit well, they can incite nervousness - particularly for women. The reason behind designing these automatic headlamps in cars is to avoid mishaps in the parking because of potholes, slippery areas, darkness, etc.

Formerly, the follow-me-home headlamps feature was limited to high-end cars. However, considering the safety they offer, these automatic headlamps in cars have become an essential feature in almost all modern vehicles.

Now that we know the follow-me-home headlamps meaning, let’s understand their purpose.

Purpose of Follow-Me-Home Headlamps

To completely understand what a follow-me-home headlamp is, it is essential to know why they were developed in the first place.

Here are the primary reasons why follow-me headlamps in cars are an important feature:

Safety: Perhaps the most obvious use of the guide me headlamps is to offer some safety to the driver as it provides a clear path to avoid potential hindrances and mitigate accidents while walking to your destination.

Convenience: In addition to safety, the auto headlamps with the follow-me function offer convenience by affording some extra time to fetch your belongings from the car before walking to your destination.

Security: Finally, as they temporarily light up your road, the follow-me-home headlight can deter potential threats.

Considering the aforementioned, it is clear that the auto headlamps with the follow me function are more than a mere gimmick as they enhance visibility in the dark and create a safer environment for navigating through unknown places.

How do the Follow-Me-Home Headlamps in Cars Work?

The mechanism for the functioning of the follow-me-home headlamps in cars is relatively simple. They activate in two scenarios, which are either when the driver turns off the ignition or if the car is unlocked with the button on the key:

When the ignition is killed, the sensor in the light can detect whether the light in the environment is low, and it signals the Electronic Control Unit (ECU)

The ECU will then send an electric pulse to the headlight that will keep the light on for a specific time frame. This time frame can be customised to accommodate the driver’s preference and typically ranges between 10-30 seconds. To preserve the battery of the car, these lights are turned off automatically once the predetermined time lapses.

If the car is unlocked from the keyfob, the functionality is the same only the mechanism for triggering the feature changes.

Now that we know how the follow-me-home headlamps in car work, let’s take a look at the components that enable the feature.

Components of the Follow-Me-Home Headlamps

The follow-me-home headlight incorporates several important components to activate the safety feature for drivers. Here are the primary elements it requires:

Power Source: To assist with the illumination of the headlamps, a standby power source is placed under the battery of the car

Assembly: In modern cars, you can use the assembly or the touch switch to adjust the time function (between 10 to 15 seconds) based on your preference

Sensors: The ambient light sensors can adjust the brightness or the duration of the light based on the external environment. Additionally, the door sensors monitor whether or not the door is closed to activate or deactivate the follow-me-home headlamps.

Actuator: Several newly manufactured cars come with an inbuilt switch or actuator to enable the feature

Connectors: The connectors and the wiring elements ensure efficient transmission of electric power between the signals and other components

Dimming Function: This functionality is synced with time and is activated as you kill the ignition of your car

Relays: On certain occasions, electric relays can be used to turn the headlights on and off, which generally acts under the control module

Together, the above-mentioned elements facilitate the functioning of the follow-me headlamps.

Types of Follow-Me-Home Headlamps

Over the years, headlights have witnessed an evolving transformation as car manufacturers went on to develop varied types with their distinct advantages. Let’s explore some of these with their pros and cons:

Halogen Headlights

One of the most common types of headlights in the market today is halogens. True to their name, halogens work because of halogen gas and are a kind of incandescent light. Under normal circumstances, they can last for more than 1000 hours.

Pros Cons
Reasonably priced Relatively inefficient
Easy to replace  Emit lots of heat
Widely available  Takes time to brighten completely 
Emit a warm light that does not blind other drivers  Needs more maintenance 

Xenon or High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Headlamps

These are electrical gas-discharge lamps that generate light through an electric arc between tungsten electrodes placed inside a transparent or translucent fused quartz or fused alumina arc tube. These HID lights use xenon gas and electrical charge to emit white light

Pros Cons
A wide spectrum of visibility Brightness of these lights in the rearview mirror can cause a problem for drivers in front of your vehicle
Long-lasting In foggy weather conditions, the blue light of the HID headlights can scatter more with water droplets when compared to its counterparts
Use 20-30% less energy than halogen bulbs  Takes time to charge
Impart a smart, luxurious look to the car  Expensive

LED Headlights

Light Emitting Diodes (LED) are amongst the most popular choices when it comes to energy efficiency. This semiconductor device illuminates when an electrical current passes through a microchip and emits the tiny light sources we call LEDs.

Pros Cons
Energy efficient The intense glare of the LED headlights can adversely affect other drivers 
Long-lasting Costlier to operate
Compact  Complex to design
Instant brightness Pricey 

Laser Headlights

Laser headlights employ three small blue lasers that are pointed at a set of mirrors placed in front of the headlight system. The mirrors focus the light emitted by the laser into a lens comprising yellow phosphorus. When excited by the blue laser, the yellow phosphorus emits an intense white light.

Pros Cons
Compact Very costly
Brighter than LED Generates excessive heat 
Farther visibility Not commonly available

Categories of follow-me-home headlamps

For efficient functioning follow-me-home headlamps in car they need a seamless foundational headlight technology. These can vary depending on their functionality, workings, and customisations. Following are the basic categories of the follow-me headlamps:**

Basic: These are the most common auto headlamps with a follow-me function that activates when you turn off the ignition of your car. Typically, these have a fixed time frame for illumination. In this basic version, customisation may not be permitted.

Customisable: With this feature, the vehicle owner can determine the duration for which the light would remain on after the engine has been turned off. Certain car manufacturers also enable adjusting the brightness of the light.

Integrated: These headlights combine with other systems of the vehicle and can incorporate extra lighting features such as puddle lights under the rise mirrors and interior lights. These also come equipped with advanced customisation functionalities that enable the vehicle owner to control various aspects through the infotainment system or an app.

Adaptive: This is one of the most advanced categories of the follow-me home headlight that can effectively adjust the lighting basis the surroundings. They can illuminate for longer in dark and unsafe areas and enable the highest customisation.

Connected: These headlights are connected to the internet or smart devices, allowing remote operation. The settings can be modified to the preference of the driver from their smartphone app, providing superior convenience and advanced control.

How to Activate Follow-Me-Home Headlamps?

The activation process for enabling the automatic headlamps in a car greatly relies on the make and model of the car and the technology used to integrate it. The basic process of activation is:

Once the ignition has been killed, pull the high beam stalk towards you to activate the follow-me headlamps feature

You can also activate it through your infotainment menu

As the predetermined time lapses, the follow-me-home headlight automatically turns off to keep the battery of your car from draining.

Benefits of Follow-Me-Home Headlamps

Automatic headlamps in the car are an important safety feature. It comes with several benefits for the vehicle owner. Some of these include:

Ease of Use: The ease of activation of the follow-me-home headlight feature ensures that you can easily make use of it even in challenging situations.

Improved Navigation: By illuminating your path, the follow-me headlamps feature mitigates the risk of falling over something and any other kind of mishap. It enables you to navigate even through unfamiliar territories easily.

Customisation: Certain car manufacturers allow you to change the settings to suit your preferences better. Both the duration and the brightness of the light can be adjusted for a personalised experience.

Energy Efficient: Using eco-friendly lights such as LEDs offers dual benefits: it lowers energy consumption while extending the lighting system's life. This makes it a sustainable option for customers.

Safe: When your surroundings are appropriately lit, you prevent accidents and contribute to a safer environment by deterring potential intruders.

Considering the diverse benefits of the follow-me-home headlight feature, it is easy to acknowledge its value and relevance in the current scenario. Therefore, this feature is now also made available in inexpensive cars.

Cars Offering the Follow-Me-Home Headlamps Feature

Here are some of the best-selling car manufacturers that offer the follow-me-home headlight as a standard feature in their cars:

BMW

Ferrari

Ford

Honda

Hyundai

Kia Seltos

Lamborghini

Suzuki

Tata

Toyota

Wrapping Up

The follow-me headlamps are an important safety feature as they illuminate your path in dark and unknown surroundings to prevent accidents. Similarly, comprehensive insurance for cars secures the vehicle as well as the owner/driver from unforeseeable road circumstances.

With tens of thousands of fatalities associated with car accidents, it is imperative to not only seek a car with advanced safety features but to enhance your safety with comprehensive motor insurance that will protect your vehicle and your loved ones in the unfortunate event of an accident.

With the advancement of the internet, you can even buy car insurance from the comfort of your home. Those who have already invested in a policy can also complete their car insurance renewal online.

FAQS

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about follow-me-home headlamps:

What are follow-me headlamps?

Follow-me headlamps are a commonly available feature in modern cars that keep the headlights of your car on for a specific period after the ignition has been turned off. This assists the driver with conveniently navigating through dimly lit places.

How do you activate this feature?

The auto headlamps with the follow-me function can be activated by either pulling the headlight stalk or through the infotainment system

Can you adjust the duration of the Auto Headlamps with the Follow-Me Function?

Some vehicles enable adjustment via the settings menu or through the infotainment system. You can look in the user manual to check if the vehicle is compatible with adjusting the time.

Do follow-me headlamps turn off automatically?

Yes, follow-me headlamps automatically turn off when their time lapses to preserve the battery of your car.

Do follow-me headlamps turn on automatically?

Generally, manual intervention is required when you wish to use the follow-me headlamps feature. However, certain high-end cars can come with automatic functionality under certain conditions.

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