Hella’s LED Matrix Beam headlights are always on the high-beam setting, but a camera and computer track approaching vehicles and send on-off signals to each headlight’s 25 LEDs to eliminate glare. The system could create nearly 1 billion light combinations, lighting areas next to an oncoming vehicle while leaving that vehicle and its driver outside of the high-beam zone.
LED Matrix Beam headlights also enabled lights that shine into a turn the vehicle is about to make, either as the driver turned the steering wheel or as directed by computer instruction from a navigation system. Such cornering lighting had long been a goal of the lighting industry. An early version had appeared in the center headlight of the Tucker 48 in 1948.
But that system was mechanically linked to the Tucker’s steering wheel, and mechanical parts are prone to failure. Hella’s electronic system used no moving mechanical parts, increasing its reliability and durability.
Adaptive driving beam headlights such as Hella’s innovation have been available in Europe and elsewhere for years. On Oct. 11, NHTSA began the process to potentially allow them in the U.S.