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Smart Headlights Inch Closer to American Roads


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Adaptive driving beam headlights can be made to split so they avoids a car in front, but still shine far ahead.

Adaptive driving beam headlights are not currently permitted in the U.S., but that could soon change.

Credit: Audi AG

Adaptive driving beam (A.D.B.) headlights use sensors and cameras to continuously shape a vehicle's high beams to illuminate only areas without oncoming traffic, while sending light elsewhere down the road.

Car manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Toyota already offer this type of lighting, but A.D.B. lamps currently are illegal in the U.S.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) currently that vehicles must have distinct high and low beams, disallowing lights that can dynamically adjust.

However, in October the NHTSA issued a notice of proposed rule-making that, if approved, would allow these headlamps in the U.S.

In anticipation of this, Audi is already selling cars in the U.S. that feature “matrix-designed” LED headlamps, which need only a software upgrade to operate in an adaptive way.

From The New York Times
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