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Smart Headlights? Adaptive Beam Headlights are Finally Coming to the USA

Smart Headlights? Adaptive Beam Headlights are Finally Coming to the USA

You've experienced it: driving down a road at night when suddenly, another vehicle's headlights glare into your eyes -- seemingly with the power of a hundred suns. That blinding sensation is an all-too-common complaint as more drivers seek ultra-bright headlights.

It is understandable to want more light emitted from your vehicle to illuminate dark roads. According to federal data from 2015, a study by AAA reported about 2,000 pedestrian deaths and 31,000 injuries in which dark or low-light conditions were a cause. With more light can come more troubles to overcome. Very bright headlights can pose a safety concern on busy roads, especially on a lifted vehicle or if not properly aimed.

adaptive headlights diagram

Thankfully, lighting technology is an ever-innovating field. Enter adaptive driving beam headlights. Also called smart headlights or matrix headlights, they use onboard cameras, micromirrors, and special software to reshape and adjust the lights' beam in real-time. The adaptive headlight systems use the information collected about the driving environment to communicate changes with pixel-level digital control of individually addressable LEDs. Often, the beam throws a wide carpet of light across the road, and the technology adapts by widening and shrinking to accommodate occupied lanes and advancing objects. The constant adaption avoids blinding oncoming drivers or pedestrians and glaring into rearview mirrors. (photo credit)

Calling back to the study by AAA, their reporting expects that smart headlights would prevent at least 6% of crashes caused by dark conditions. This would save thousands of lives and reduce the cost of expenses related to transportation emergencies.

Sounds great? Well...though widely used in Europe and Asia, adaptive headlights are illegal in the United States. But don't be discouraged! In the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R.3684), a section outlined the approval of adaptive beam headlights within the next two years. Section 24212 states that "Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall issue a final rule amending Standard 108 [the regulation regarding headlight design] to allow for the use on vehicles of adaptive driving beam headlamp systems." President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on November 15, 2021, so we should see adaptive headlights hitting the USA market by late 2023.

The New York Times quotes Bill Gouse, director of federal program management for SAE International, a standards-setting organization: “Once you drive a vehicle with adaptive beams, you’ll see how great it is." Many vehicle manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz are making plans to use this new technology on future vehicles. So you can expect to see several models equipped with adaptive headlights soon.

We don't know about you...but we are excited to see just how great they are!


At ORACLE Lighting, we pride ourselves on providing world-class products to our customers, and are happy to pass on these savings opportunities to you. Visit our website and browse our product catalog for the latest automotive deals. You can also contact us to get in touch with one of our sales specialists today.

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