The tech innovates on current adaptive headlights, too.

Headlight technology is progressing incredibly rapidly lately as automakers find increasingly sophisticated ways to illuminate the road with LEDs and lasers, and a new software innovation called Digital Light from Mercedes-Benz could make driving at night even safer by not dazzling other folks on the road. The company is already testing this tech on the road as on November 2016 and plans to put it into production in the future.

Digital Light uses an HD headlight chip with over one million controllable micromirrors on each side of the vehicle. In addition, software processes data from the cameras and radar that Mercedes already uses. By combining these systems, Digital Light can identify other road users and fade the light so as not to affect the other person’s vision.

Mercedes-Benz Digital Light Headlights


Adaptive headlights that can prevent dazzling other people on the road are already available from tech like Audi’s Active Matrix LEDs. However, Digital Light goes even further. The huge number of controllable light sources let Mercedes’ tech display messages on the road. For example, when arriving to a stop sign at night, the system could project that image onto the road as a helpful reminder to drivers. It could also display a zebra crossing on the street as a way to let pedestrians know you are letting them cross.

Mercedes-Benz Digital Light Headlights
Mercedes-Benz Digital Light Headlights

Digital Light could be a big help to European drivers when it arrives, but regulations in the United States could keep the system off the road there. The National Highway Traffic Safety prevents innovations like Audi’s adaptive headlights from coming to market because of an outdated regulation mandates certain lighting patterns and mandates that drivers must be able to switch between high- and low-beams.

Mercedes-Benz Digital Light Headlights
Mercedes-Benz Digital Light Headlights

There are signs that headlights in the U.S. might improve soon. For example, Audi is the first automaker in the country with permission to sell a model with laser-powered high beams. In addition, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is now including a satisfactory headlight rating as a criterion for earning a Top Safety Pick+ award starting with 2017 model year vehicles. The agency started the new testing after finding NHTSA’s rules allowed for far too much variation in illumination.

Source: Mercedes-Benz

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