Automotive News reports Audi may have a hard road ahead of it when it comes to convincing federal regulators to allow the company's new matrix beam lighting. The system uses small cameras to detect other vehicles on the road and darkens specific elements of the high-beam pattern to provide maximum nighttime visibility without blinding other drivers. Audi has been displaying this technology on its concept cars for a couple of years now (including the Crosslane Coupe Concept shown above at its 2012 Paris Motor Show reveal). Audi hopes the technology will effectively do away with the industry's current high and low beam settings, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration doesn't allow such a system under its current laws. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 specifically says headlamps are not to shine in this dynamic of a way.

Audi has asked has asked NHTSA for more clarification to determine what, if any elements of the matrix beam lighting technology can legally be used on US-specification vehicles. But American buyers may have to settle for systems that automatically dim their high beams until the rules get a bit more clarification.


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  • 82 Comments
      spdy65
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd like to see a ban on these aftermarket Xenon lights. They are too bright on on-coming cars. If you're so blind you need that kind of light you shouldn't be driving.
      sandyjimfl
      • 1 Year Ago
      And as we all know, the Federal Government always has our best interests at heart!
      autonimous
      • 1 Year Ago
      I would like to see the NHTSA address the issue of turn signals - I would like to see them mandate all turn indicators be yellow. The problem stems from some of these LED turn signals and brake lights, sometimes you cannot see the lights blinking because they blend with the brake lights - or the light is burnt out, or someone is pumping the brakes - this would alleviate some confusion and make the roads a bit safer.
      n738
      • 1 Year Ago
      Whatever happened to 'Cornering' lights that came on when the turn signals did tolight the are that the car was turinginto? I had them on a 1964 Cadillac and a 1965 Buick. The Tucker from the 1940's had a single headlight in the center of the front of the car that turned with the steering wheel to light where the was going. Some VW's have a similar system and Jeep has one that keep the headlights aimed down at the road surface when going over hills and thru dips in the road. Must be the added cost & low profit that prevents these innovations, along with government interference.
      Dave
      • 1 Year Ago
      I would like to a height limit for headlights. Pity the poor guy driving the "regular" sized car being followed by the giant Chevy/Dodge/Ford pickup behind him with headlights higher than his trunk lid shining directly into his rearview mirrors. Most trucks and vans fall into this category. Then there's the guy that raises his truck so high that his lights shine over your roof. Yep, they can see alright, but at your expense. I just pull over for these jerks. They're usually the ones who use the HID lights also.
      ReTired
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yeah, I know..."Old Days". I bought a '70 'Cuda brand new, factory equipped with Fog Lights (low cut-off, wide beam-pattern patterned lens) but was ticketed multiple times by PA State and local enforcement because Penn-Dot defined "Fog Lights" as yellow/amber...Chrysler's OEMs - not after market - were clear/white...yet they had to "illuminate" to pass annual safety inspection. They were on a separate switch on the park/marker lighting circuit, so would operate w/o headlights, but the police did not see them used so (in fog they actually worked pretty well alone). I later replaced the single round sealed beams with "Z-Beam Cibies (not legal either !) What a difference - great distance visibility on high, a very low top cut-off with a higher curb side angle useful for signs, turns, wildlife avoidance. Demonstrations sold several folks on the benefits of the much more expensive than OEM units. Got a quad set for a '74 Challenger some years later. LOVED 'em. Illegal (at the time) Euro-tech saved my car, and maybe my young butt more than I'll admit. Test the efficacy, follow the science, change the regs to benefit the driver...not those with only a financial interest.
      propackage
      • 1 Year Ago
      does anyone remember that our illustrious government wrote the specifications for the first airbag system which probably hurt more people than it saved. Not to be outdone the government now outlawed freon 134a. The replacement has been found to start fires on contact with hot engine parts. They are incapable of doing things because they were elected on popularity not ability
      AP
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've had the experience of being near blinded by halogen headlights from oncoming trucks and other vehicles sitting on a higher base than mine. They may provide a better vierw for the driver of that vehicle, but if theres a way to do that without blinding other drivers, then I'm all in favor of it. I can't count the number of times I've feared going off the roadf at night becuse the other drivers lights are so bright I can't see anything else. Let's have some common sense here!
      Susan
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have no problem driving in a city with street lights but on country roads I like to longer, brighter range distance..I try not to use my brights as I hate when people have them on coming towards or behind me..I like the idea of an adjusting headlight without blinding other drivers.
      ccweems
      • 1 Year Ago
      There is an advisory committee for headlights. The members are car makers and american manufacturers of automotive lighting systems. The goal of this committee is to ban or retard any new technology that was not invented by its members. These are the same folk who kept European replaceable lamp headlights out for years. When they saw the handwriting on the wall they invented rectangular sealed beam halogen headlights (which often worked worse than original round lamps) and attributed its adoption to the need to improve vehicular aerodynamics. The increased pressure to adopt better lighting was met by the invention plastic based halogen lamps coupled with purpose built US design headlight assemblies. The simplified strategy was: ban anything Hella or Bosch make and as a substitute create an inferior US standard. A European model imported into the US has headlight assemblies that look much the same as the European versions but in fact the US version is much inferior. They get better optics with better beam patterns, cheaper lamps and driver adjustable aiming even on non HID cars. Audi is no stranger to history and knows full well that the troglodyte advisory committee will do its worst.
      clevermailname
      • 1 Year Ago
      Any chance they can come up with a system where the fog lights can only be turned on when there's fog in the vicinity?
        merlot066
        • 1 Year Ago
        @clevermailname
        They're also called driving lights, they shine lower than regular headlights. I don't understand what the problem is.
          merlot066
          • 1 Year Ago
          @merlot066
          I looked it up after I posted and learned the difference. I can't remember which car it was exactly but the owners manual for one of my cars a long time ago had them listed as fog/driving lights and it's always stuck for some reason. You're dead on though, OEM fog lights don't do very much (though I leave them on since they illuminate the side of the road a bit where deer like to lurk). It's aftermarket lights that are the problem (like most things aftermarket, like fart-can mufflers for example).
          EXP Jawa
          • 1 Year Ago
          @merlot066
          Well, no. Driving lights are not the same things as fog lights. Granted, both are auxillary to the main headlamps, but that\'s where their design and functional similarities end. Fog lights, as the name implies, are intended for use in poor weather. They\'d typically have a short range but very wide beam pattern, and are most effective when mounted low to help the light get under the fog. OEM auxillary lights are almost universally this type of lamp. Typically, in stock form, they are an inexpensive, relatively low wattage, lamp that creates a poor of light down low right in front of the bumper. OEMs add this kind of light to a car because they\'re marketable (look \"cool\") and they don\'t particularly impact whether or not the car\'s lighting meets DOT regs. Why people gripe about other people using them in fair weather, I never understood. It really doesn\'t make a difference, and it tends to only be cheap, poorly designed and poorly installed aftermarket ones that create a lot glare. That\'s out of the OEM\'s hands anyway. Driving lights, OTOH, are a different animal entirely. Their function is to augment the vehicle\'s high beams, providing an increase in on-road light far down range. Depending on the design, they can provide flood type beam that is somewhat longer and wider than a normal high beam, or they can provide a \"pencil\" beam that is narrow but extremely long range. OEM\'s rarely offer anything like that because their usage has to be regulated and the fall outside the typical regulation allowances. This type of light benefits from being mounted higher; you\'ll see groups of them on the front of rally cars and off-road race vehicles.
        Giorgio
        • 1 Year Ago
        @clevermailname
        I laughed. thanks and +1 :D
      drewbiewhan
      • 1 Year Ago
      As if the brightness of Audi's traditional HID lights aren't annoying enough to other driver's on the road.
        Danrar
        • 1 Year Ago
        @drewbiewhan
        ... which is the point of this system. To make them less annoying.
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