Combining LEDs with lasers to illuminate the road is a really good idea as the precision in terms of how light can be intelligently applied is pretty astounding given what Audi has done with headlights and how they can be transformed into something very cool while being safe, something the US Government seems not to understand in any way, shape or fashion.
AUDI FRESH OFF MAKING some bold promises about self-driving cars and setting a US sales record, Audi built on a very good 2017 this week by lighting things up at the Detroit auto show. As in, it showed off a new headlight technology.
Too bad the “Matrix Laser” system, which debuted as part of Audi’s Q8 concept SUV and does everything from highlighting pedestrians to auto-dimming for the sake on oncoming cars, isn’t welcome in the US.
This tech is Audi’s latest push the reinvent the way drivers see the world around them, and its future-heavy name is actually accurate. “Each headlight uses a single laser as the light source, but the beam is broken into a million distinct pixels by the diodes,” says Volker Kaese, Audi’s director of innovation. A small mirror continuously aims the beam to different sections of the matrix to adjust its projection—wide or narrow, high or low, and anywhere in between.
The Utopia of Rules strikes yet again.
Cars sold in the US must obey a rulebook that spans more than a thousand pages and gets very details. One rule: You need separate light sources for high and low beams. (Conventional laser headlights are permitted here, usually supplemented with LEDs for the alternate beam.)
“The United States has very low receptiveness to new lighting technology,” says IHS Markit analyst Christian Müller. “It will permit some things—daytime running lights, directional lighting in turns—but not make them mandatory. And if there isn’t a proven life-safety benefit for a new innovation it’s very hard to change the regulations to even permit things like matrix laser lights.”
Looks pretty cool without question.
Addendum: Mercedes Benz is doing some cool stuff with high beams as well.