Adaptive Headlights Light the Way
Biden’s Infrastructure bill being signed into law opens a door for the automotive industry to adapt technology that would have otherwise been kept due to outdated regulations. The technology in question, this time being adaptive headlights for automobiles.
Currently, headlights, especially those that utilize LEDs, can be anywhere from bright to blinding, often putting oncoming drivers at risk of being blinded and resulting in potentially catastrophic accidents, especially during the darkest of nights. According to studies, 88% of drivers notice headlight glare, with 31% of that noting that it’s “disturbing,” additionally, one in every one-hundred drivers claim that headlight glare led to crashes or a near miss.
Of course, it’s a bit of a no-brainer as to why adaptive headlights are the step in the right direction for creating a safer driving space. One might wonder why did regulations prevent the usage of these lights in the first place. It’s because the U.S Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration established the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108 in 1967, which prohibited the application of high-beams and low-beam headlights to be used simultaneously. According to the code itself, this prohibition served to reduce traffic accidents, which made sense given that it was made around old lightning technology, which certainly is not on par with the technology of today. The standard furthermore involves a self-certification process as well. Manufacturers must adhere to a “DOT” symbol on all OEM and replacement headlamps, daytime running lights, and certain reflectors.
Currently, under many different names, Adaptive Headlights can selectively dim or disable a cluster of headlights depending on the status of what’s ahead of you. If a car is approaching in your direction, the headlights will shut down the cluster of lights that would otherwise blind the other driver, but it will still maintain the lights that illuminate your lane. Additionally, it can account for multiple drivers in different lanes, selectively disabling numerous light clusters.
Furthermore, Adaptive Headlights are said to project patterns on the road that can alert drivers of where the lane ends and potential upcoming obstacles or hazards, such as ice or potholes. The possibilities of application are numerous for this new technology.