Automobiles are advancing at a blistering pace, the market may be slow but the newer technologies are being incorporated at the same speed. Be it for the purpose of pure safety or convenience, innovation or modernization keeps on growing. Amongst the crucial components of an automobile, the headlights have been rapidly evolving since past so many years. For many, headlights might be a matter of switching a button on/off, but there have been technological advances in this field too. Moreover, with the development of infrastructure and different road and traffic conditions today, the topic becomes more imperative from a driver’s and pedestrian’s perspective. Lets have a look on the latest headlight technologies available in automobiles today.
There are many applications associated with Adaptive headlights. Most of the headlights in the cars are designed to point in one direction only, and this is especially useful when we are driving the car on straight roads. But when it comes to handling the zigzag roads like that in our country and where lightning on streets is scarce, then it becomes quite tricky. Here adaptive headlights comes into picture. These type of headlights swivel automatically in congruence with sensors and accordance with the rotation, speed and angle of the steering wheel so that when one turns the car, the projection turns to the concerned direction of the car. Adaptive headlights can be extremely useful when turning on long curvy paths where chances of colliding to the unknown vehicle are high. These headlights can turn upto a maximum of 15 degrees.
Similarly, one of the related technology in this respect is ‘adaptive highbeam assist’ which automatically adjust the range of headlamp so that the light can reach the other vehicles ahead, without glaring out their vision. The beam ranges between 65 and 300 meters, depending on the model and of course, the traffic conditions. Headlights are tailored automatically by a camera inside the front windscreen every 40 milliseconds. This technology was first used in Mercedes Benz cars in 2009.
These are small lights and can be either found integrated inside the headlight cluster or in the fog lamp enclosure or separately at the far end of the front bumpers. Where adaptive headlights are meant to light up the long, sweeping bends, the cornering lights are designed to provide extra brightness to aid at sharp turns or while reversing. Generally, these lights automatically switches on at low speeds when the side indicators are on or reverse gear being engaged. Cornering lights can easily highlights the blind spots during sharp turns which help avoid any danger spot.
Self leveling lights
Self-leveling is basically a system employed in HID (High Intensity Discharge) lights. These are several times brighter than the conventional lights and can dazzle the other driver ahead and pedestrians on the path, creating chances of accidents. These are especially dangerous when driving over sloppy hills and elevated roads. Self-leveling smartly determines the inclination of the car by analyzing the front and rear suspension. Electric actuators than gets activated and adjusts the beam of the projector accordingly. In countries like Europe and Australia, the HID loaded cars are required to install the self-leveling system in their headlights.
Nowadays, these lights have been part of adaptive headlights but in prevalence since 1960s. But still most of the vehicles today don't have such system installed. Also known as ‘dusk sensing headlights’, it typically uses ambient light sensor to determine the brightness of the surrounding environment and instruct the headlights to turn on or off.
Though these technologies were part of high-end luxury cars, but some of them are now being implemented in budget passenger cars. In India it is quite impossible to install these expensive technologies in normal cars, as then it would raise the cost steeply and hamper their sales.