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Next Mercedes headlights will behave like projectors

News Desk
Published: 12 December 2016 Monday, 08:43  AM

Next Mercedes headlights will behave like projectors

Bonn, Dec 11 ( -- Mercedes-Benz has released more details about the world’s next generation of headlights - ones capable of behaving like projectors and shining lensed light and images onto the road in HD quality.

Branded as "Digital Light," the lamps are currently making the transition from the research stage into pre-production and should be available on cars in just a few years, announced the German automaker.

Mercedes` suppliers have created tiny chips with more than a million microscopic mirrors. These reflect light from high-voltage LEDs and each project one "pixel" of the overall beam of light as if it were a picture.

The smaller these pixels are, the more precisely the beam`s distribution can be controlled, explain the developers.

Existing LED lights can already cater to oncoming drivers, putting them in a black part of the beam to keep dazzling light from their eyes, and the beams can be adapted to the shape of the road and traffic to illuminate most what a driver needs to see.

These features are controlled by camera and radar sensors, which are already necessary for adaptive cruise control systems or lane tracking assistants.

With more precise light distribution, Mercedes not only wants to improve road visibility even more, but also project additional information onto the road on the fly.

The product developers foresee the lights projecting warnings, navigation arrows or even customized road markings in situations with poor visibility.

The Digital Light will also have the potential to improve communication with others sharing the road, for example by projecting a zebra crossing onto a road while in autonomous driving mode, in order to signal to pedestrians they can cross safely.

Before Mercedes brings the projector technology into production, however, the developers are planning on an intermediate step and will get started on the next generation of LED lights.

These will feature four LED chips per headlamp, each with 1,024 individually controllable light points.