New Mercedes Benz system that automatically adapts headlamp range. image

Nighttime journeys by car are about to become safer in the future. Mercedes-Benz has developed an innovative system that automatically adapts headlamp range to the distance of vehicles ahead or to oncoming vehicles. This means drivers will benefit from optimum headlamp range at all times to recognize other road users, pedestrians or danger spots more easily and more quickly.

Unlike conventional systems that simply switch between dipped and main beam, the new Mercedes-Benz technology is adaptive, adjusting light yield in accordance with prevailing traffic situations. Dipped beam range can therefore be increased from around 65 metres to as much as 300 metres without dazzling other motorists. If the system detects oncoming traffic or vehicles ahead it continuously adjusts headlamp range so that the headlamp cone falls in front of other road users. The high-beam assistant also takes steering angle into account, so that headlamps are dipped appropriately on tight corners. On empty and open roads, the system gently switches to high beam.

In addition, the system helps relieve the burden on car drivers because it is no longer necessary to operate the lever on the steering column. Once activated, the adaptive high-beam assistant will automatically provide the optimum headlamp range so full concentration can be given to driving.
According to the latest studies, the main beam is switched on for approximately just eight percent of journeys at night on average.

The brand new Mercedes-Benz technology is based on a camera positioned inside the front windshield that monitors the traffic situation in front of the car. Thanks to an intelligent image processing algorithm, the camera can recognize other vehicles and determine their distance. The range of the bi-xenon headlamps can then be varied and continuously adapted to the distance of the car ahead or to oncoming vehicles. The system has lightning quick reaction times, transmitting new data to the headlamps every 40 milliseconds.The adaptive high-beam assistant functions at speeds above 55 km/h and is fully automatic from the time the driver switches the rotary light switch to “Auto” and the multifunction control lever on the steering column to high beam.

The system will be avaliable from 2009.