Mercedes-Maybach aims to rethink what a car's headlights can do for the driver and for pedestrians. The brand revealed its digital headlight technology equipped on the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, which better controls regular lighting function, but can also display information on the road itself.
Before you ask, no, the technology isn't bound for the U.S., as it wouldn't comply with Department of Transportation regulations. Europeans with deep pockets will see the first application of the digital lights the first time they take their Maybach S-Class sedans out at night.
The brand said the light features one million pixels per headlight that can pinpoint where light needs to shine for most effective illumination. It can also dramatically cut down on light shining at oncoming drivers. A powerful processing chip works with cameras and sensor systems to relay data to a computer, which then evaluates the surroundings in milliseconds to constantly adapt the headlights for proper light distribution.
Now for the really cool stuff. The digital lights can also project symbols and images on the road to help guide the driver and make pedestrians and other drivers aware of conditions. The system can project guidelines to correspond with the car's width to maneuver through, say, a construction site; an extended pedestrian mark will display an arrow pointing out a pedestrian entering a "danger zone" in the road; and a distance mark works with proximity controls to mark the distance on the road.
But, wait, there's more. The digital lights can project a small number of symbols onto the road to display relevant information. These include a low-grip, construction site, rear-end collision, lane-keep, blind-spot, and speed symbols.
It's a shame we won't see this kind of technology in the U.S. for now, but Maybach plans for the technology to grace the S-Class in limited production during the first half of 2018.