Audi has been an innovator and pioneer in the area of headlight technology, having been one of the first to introduce lighting technologies such as adaptive lights, full-LED headlights and even fuel-saving LED lights.
Now the automaker is extending its leadership in headlight technology with the announcement of new Matrix LED headlights, which Audi plans to introduce on its 2015 A8 facelift confirmed for launch overseas later this year.
Audi has already previewed in its Matrix LED headlights in concept form but now the technology is ready for production.
Matrix LED headlights rely on multiple individually controlled LEDs that enable high-precision lighting of the car’s high beam. By switching on or off the individual LEDs, Matrix LED headlights can split the high beam to point in multiple directions or block part of the single beam.
Managed by a responsive control unit, they are activated and deactivated or dimmed individually according to the situation, such as when approaching a car in the oncoming lane, pulling up behind another driver or pointing to a pedestrian or animal by the side of the road detected in advance by the vehicle’s radar and camera-based sensors.
This means the high beam mode can supply high-precision illumination and achieve the maximum possible light yield without needing a pivoting mechanism and without distracting other drivers. At the same time, it means that a driver can drive with the high beams permanently on, as the lights automatically adjust if there’s the potential for them to distract other drivers or road users.
The light that the driver sees is said to be always bright, homogeneous and much more effective than that produced by current mechanical dipping systems.
Mercedes-Benz has already introduced a similar system on its 2014 S Class, but the Mercedes system as well as Audi’s new Matrix LED headlight won’t be offered on U.S.-spec cars because of current legislation that calls for cars to have separate low and high beam modes. A number of automakers are petitioning the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to have this rule changed.
Look for the 2015 Audi A8 with the Matrix LED headlights at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show in September.