Volvo will be showing off its Active High Beam technology at the Geneva Motor Show next week. The system will allow drivers to use their high beams all the time and adds another responsibility to the cameras mounted by the rearview mirror, making them detect traffic ahead, whether it be another car or a truck or motorcycle and in the same lane or oncoming. When a vehicle is detected, a special projector in the Xenon lamps can block out only the portion of the high beam that would impair the other driver. Volvo says the system is accurate down to a 1.5-inch margin around another object.

Active High Beam will be fitted to the Volvo S60, V60 and XC60 and we have to assume they mean the non-US versions of those cars. Audi has a similar technology that it calls "matrix beam lighting," and due to the way the US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard code is written, such active control of high beams is verboten on cars sold here.

The Swedish brand also plans to present a collision-avoidance technology it's calling a "world-first." The press release below has more information and the accompanying video demonstrates the lighting tech.




Show full PR text
Volvo Cars makes driving at night safer and more comfortable with innovative, permanent high beam

Feb 27, 2013 -- The new Volvo S60, V60 and XC60 - shown to the public for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show - can be fitted with an innovation that makes driving in the dark safer and more comfortable. The renewed Active High Beam Control makes it possible to use high beam continuously thanks to an ingenious mechanism that prevents dazzling of oncoming drivers. At a press conference in Geneva, Volvo Car Group will also present a new world-first collision-avoiding technology.

Driving at night presents car drivers all over the world with challenging conditions. "Our aim with the renewed Active High Beam Control technology is to enhance visibility in the dark by making it possible to use high beam permanently, without having to switch to low beam when meeting or catching up with other cars," says Prof. Lotta Jakobsson, Senior Technical Specialist Safety at Volvo Cars Safety Centre.

Easier to spot unprotected road users
The main advantage of Active High Beam Control is that the traffic environment outside the shaded area is still illuminated by the high beam. This improves the driver's chances of detecting objects at the side of the road, such as parked cars, unprotected road users and animals.

"The technology makes driving at night more comfortable and safe. It also makes it easier to focus on the driving and is an excellent example of our Designed Around You approach, always focusing on features that really make a difference to the customer," says Lotta Jakobsson.

Ingenious shading mechanism
When an oncoming car approaches or when catching up with another car from behind, the system helps to prevent dazzling of the other driver by shading out only as much of the beam as necessary.

Active High Beam Control uses the camera already used for the detection and auto brake systems located by the rear-view mirror at the top of the windscreen to identify the other vehicle and the area that needs to be shaded. The technology is accurate enough to frame the chosen object with only a 1.5° margin.

The control unit relays the information to an ingenious projector module mechanism integrated into the headlamp. A tiny cylinder with metal pieces of different sizes allows the possibility of shading just as much of the beam as necessary.

The Active High beam Control, which also works for motorcycles ahead, features Xenon lamps. The technology is active at speeds down to 15 km/h. It will be available in the Volvo S60, V60 and XC60 from spring 2013.

Another safety world-first in Geneva
At a press conference on the first press day at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show next week, Volvo Car Group will reveal another world-first safety feature.

"We have enhanced our collision-avoiding technologies continuously, and in Geneva we will present the next, groundbreaking step," reveals Lotta Jakobsson and adds that "As the leader in automotive safety, we have reduced the risk of being injured in an accident in one of our latest car models by more than 50 per cent since the year 2000. By continuously introducing new preventive and protective systems, we keep moving towards our aim that by 2020 no one should be injured or killed in a new Volvo."

Rapid renewal
The six new cars in Volvo Cars model range - the Volvo S60, V60 (including V60 Plug-in Hybrid), XC60, V70, XC70 and S80 - will also be on display in Geneva.

"It is the best demonstration yet of the rapid transformation of our company and our brand. All cars in our model range have been renewed since last year's show in Geneva. The only exception, the all-new XC90, will come towards the end of 2014," says Doug Speck, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Customer Service at Volvo Car Group.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 58 Comments
      PTC DAWG
      • 1 Year Ago
      Poorly aimed headlights, high beams on at night, no lights on in the rain, folks just don't GAS about driving.
        Frederick
        • 1 Year Ago
        @PTC DAWG
        I get sooo irritated by people who don't have their headlamps adjusted properly. Trucks and SUVs are the worst as they seem to never account for the increased ride height.
      Sergio526
      • 1 Year Ago
      Blind ALL the pedestrians!!!
      Carac
      • 1 Year Ago
      Didn't Audi already apply to have their adaptive headlight system approved by the NHSTA? To which the NHSTA threw their hands up and basically said "We don't know what to make of this. We'll need time to evaluate it." Since the fact that you have a setting between high and low blew their minds.
        Carac
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Carac
        I knew I saw it somewhere. http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/148601-the-feds-dont-know-what-to-make-of-audis-new-headlamps
        TrueDat
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Carac
        not exactly. Audi's system has multiple different levels of brightness.. so in between high-beam and low-beam, there are 5 different levels (just through out 5 for example). whereas this Volvo system still only has 2 different levels (high-beam/low-beam). The NHSTA doesn't know what to do with Audi's system because it isn't just a high-beam and low-beam setup. It has a whole ranges of intensity depending on how much light is needed. Volvos is "auto-lamps" on steroids..
          Carac
          • 1 Year Ago
          @TrueDat
          Ah, gotcha. Either way the NHSTA is glacially slow when it comes to approving new tech.
      Muttons
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is the high beam an additional light to the low beam? Seems like if it's a standalone and you have a lot of cars or targets in front of you, it will block so much out that you'll be blind. The rectangles this system is drawing around targets seem totally black. See when the car in front passes another car and it widens to cover the whole road? How is having no light at all touching the road ahead a good thing?
      adika3z
      • 1 Year Ago
      HUD in the car ???? no need it, use highbeam headlights are good enough
      digitalgpbandit
      • 1 Year Ago
      Who needs to drive using the hi beams on their HID headlamps? If you do you shouldn't be driving at night in the first place and you should get your eyes checked.
        Joe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @digitalgpbandit
        Or try driving on country roads that have no streetlights. You need the high beams to see the deer crossing the road ahead of you.
        kemarie
        • 1 Year Ago
        @digitalgpbandit
        When you don't want to hit a deer, elk, dog, etc... trying to cross the road.
      kopter28
      • 1 Year Ago
      Time to rewrite the US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard code . While they are at it they should mandate orange turn signal flashers too! Nothing bugs me more than using the same lamp for braking and turn signal!
        desinerd1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @kopter28
        Second that. Using stop light for turn signal as well is confusing, specially if you are not directly behind that car and can only see one side.
      DC Mike
      • 1 Year Ago
      Quite a few vehicles have this. I know my wife's Grand Cherokee Overland has auto-high beams also.
        Peter_G
        • 1 Year Ago
        @DC Mike
        You did not watch the video then. My JGC just uses the rain sensing camera to automatically turn off the highbeams when it detects an oncoming vehicle and turns them back on after the vehicle has passed. I never liked using it because I felt it doesn't react fast enough to keep my shoulder area covered in good ole "GOOD GOD THERES A DEER!" land. Volvo and BMW are basically putting the individual headlights on a ball socket so they can rotate the beam pattern around approaching vehicles and create blackspots around vehicles you are following, all while keeping the high-beams active. If the US would update their hi-beam laws, I can see this technology replacing high/low beams entirely with just a manual over-ride for dense fog.
      Cabriofan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Great tech for checking out swedish hookers. LOL
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      PatTheCarNut
      • 1 Year Ago
      I do not understand why the US is always behind on this kind of stuff. We've gone from clicking a button on the floor to pulling a stalk on the column. Wow! cutting edge! Surprised we aren't still running around on wood wheels. Europe is so far ahead of us on most things transportation related. High speed rail anyone??
        Rocketboy_X
        • 1 Year Ago
        @PatTheCarNut
        Gee, maybe someone should actually pay attention to what they are doing when they are driving.
          PatTheCarNut
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rocketboy_X
          That is precisely the problem. People don't and you end up being blinded. I love how the US manufacturers are able to finally start using some new tech as cost trickles down. For instance, the Ford F150 now has the option of HID headlights but the thing is so high up that one behind you, is blinding! This tech in the article would eliminate that. There are SO many things in the Euro market that are good, safe options, but can't come here because our government is so set in it's ways, and afraid to change or embrace new tech.
          PatTheCarNut
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rocketboy_X
          And HID headlights are far from new Tech BTW...
      GN
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good addition to Volvo. This is cool.
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