Audi’s Matrix LED headlights allow you to drive with your high beams left permanently on, as they can detect other vehicles on the road and actually split up a light path so that they don’t blind other drivers while at the same time continue to cast their full light in the areas where there isn’t another vehicle. They can do this because the light path is created using numerous LEDs—about 25 per headlight unit—spread over a grid (or matrix, hence the name), and these can then be individually controlled depending on the situation.
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However, getting this feature to work with newer laser lights, which have a greater intensity and lower energy consumption than LEDs, as well as a more defined light path, will prove more difficult as the light isn’t created by multiple sources. But that hasn’t deterred Audi, as the automaker is working on a solution with partners such as Osram and Bosch in an initiative known as Intelligent Laser Light For Compact And High-Resolution Adaptive Headlights.
One solution being investigated is a rapidly moving micro-mirror, which can redirect the laser beam. At low vehicle speeds, the light is distributed to a larger projection area, and the road is illuminated with a very wide range. At high speeds, the aperture angle is smaller, and the intensity and range of the light are increased significantly. This could work with intelligent and lightning-fast activation and deactivation of the laser diodes in relation to the mirror position, allowing the light path to be broadened or narrowed, as required.
As with today’s Matrix LED headlights, the road will always be brightly lit without causing glare to other road users. The crucial difference is that Matrix Laser technology offers even more precise distribution or as Audi explains, a “higher resolution”. Use of Matrix Laser headlights is demonstrated in the video below.
At present, there’s no word on when the technology will be in production.