Automakers are still hoping the rules will change.
U.S. regulations have been a thorn in the sides of automakers for years, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. However, there is a concerted effort attempting to persuade the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration to dust off its old, outdated headlight rule. Adaptive driving beam headlights are illegal in the U.S., and it’s affecting cars that are on sale today, like the Cadillac XT6.
According to a new report from Cadillac Society, Cadillac designed and developed the XT6 in hopes the NHTSA would update the headlight rule before the XT6 went on sale. That didn’t happen. The NHTSA’s antiquated headlight regulation remains the law of the land, meaning there are XT6 crossovers on U.S. roads that have Cadillac’s adaptive driving beam technology – IntelliBeam – but it’s disabled. The feature is available and enabled on XT6s sold outside North American.
Cadillac offers the technology on the XT6’s upgraded headlight package, and not all is lost for current XT6 owners. Cadillac Society says the automaker can enable the technology through a flash update at the dealership. The update would allow North American XT6 headlights to keep the high beams on – improving nighttime visibility – while actively reducing the headlight’s glare for the oncoming driver. It’s the best of both worlds without blinding other drivers.
Gallery: 2020 Cadillac XT6: First Drive
The lighting technology has been around for over a decade, and automakers have been battling the NHTSA ever since. Reports of Audi fighting U.S. regulations date back to at least 2013 when the company tried to get its Matrix Beam headlights okayed for U.S. roads. The NHTSA announced in October 2018 that it would consider changing its rules to allow adaptive driving beam headlights. Then, in mid-2019, the agency said it was working to develop new regulations for the lighting technology. When – and if – the NHTSA decides to implement the rules, automakers like Cadillac will be ready.