Still in the process of trying to get its trick LED Matrix Beam headlights legalized in the US, Audi is now trying to get its front and rear sequential LED turn signals approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Just like its auto-dimming headlights, the sequentially illuminating turn signals don't meet NHTSA's Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108.

The problem, according to Automotive News, is that the individual lighting elements are too small to meet current US safety regulations. The rule states that each lamp should be 22 square centimeters (8.6 square inches) and the whole lighted combined area must be 50 square centimeters (19.6 square inches). In the individual sequence, Audi's lights are much smaller than that. As for the Ford Mustang, which has had sequential turn signals since 2010, this system is legal since the first lens is large enough to meet the required size, so the other two lights really aren't even necessary.

It sounds like it could be some time before we see these turn signals on Audis in the US, which is a shame because in addition to their styling bebefuts, we think they're more effective at signaling the vehicle's intended direction of travel, and they do a better job of grabbing the eye. Scroll down to watch a pair of videos showing the headlights in action on the redesigned A8/S8 as well as the recently updated R8.




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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 95 Comments
      Aiku
      • 1 Year Ago
      While they're changing the rules. Can we make it so that turn signals have to be amber? Sometimes I can't tell if the car next to me is trying to signal or if they just pressed their brakes repeatedly. A signal completely different than the brake light's signal would be immediately obvious rather than taking the 1 or 2 seconds (an eternity when driving on the freeway) to look at the car and figure out if they're coming over or not.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Aiku
        If the car is next to you, you can tell because the side marker lights (in the corners) come on when the turn signal is on and not when braking. If the car is really next to you as you say, the front lamp is more visible than the rear and it doesn't come on when the person brakes. So look at it and you won't be confused.
          Luke
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          Except that the side marker light you're referring to isn't always as visible as that big red brake light that's right next to you. Make it simple: separate lights for braking and signaling.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          Luke: Actually, if you're beside the car, then there's no guarantee the rear signal is visible at all. In the US, it must be. Under European regs, it is not required. The US requires that rear turn signals be visible from the rear and from the side (if the rear signal isn't visible, a second one is added at the back along with the one on at the front corner and at the front). So there is no place you can be where you cannot see the signal.
          DeathKnoT
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          That doesn't work if the car uses the same bulb red for the side marker, brake, turn signal. Case in point my f250. There is just a little cutout in the side of the taillight to make the rear side marker. its get brighter with the brake on.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          They aren't required to wrap their taillights at the corners, but if they don't, they have to put separate marker lights and reflectors on the sides of the car. Wraparound lights are cheaper than two distinct lighting/reflector clusters, so they often do that. The previous Malibu, for example, had separate reflectors in the rear even though it was designed for the US market.
      L1011
      • 1 Year Ago
      And yet red combination brake lights / turn signals are allowed. Oh ya, that's just SO safe. Our fine government at work.
        Matt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @L1011
        No they're not... Remember? They shut down.
        Carl Engeb
        • 11 Months Ago
        @L1011
        Really RED turn signals that are also brake lamps is pure STUPID. Amber turns should be only thing allowed, they are much more visible. FMVSS108 is so out of touch...hey, U.s. Exceptionalism...all we know how to do is invade other places....While Germany invents and mfgs cool stuff.
      Jay
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yeah the same people that forced the US to only allow sealed beam round or square headlights in the US for decades while the rest of the world got newer designs.
      RGT881
      • 1 Year Ago
      The goofballs at National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will say no, citing that further study is needed to show that these systems are safe and reliant. In other words, they'll cite same disingenuous reasons they always do because they're like Consuela's from Family Guy - they don't know any other language. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FshkO8HqQ10
      sjmoo
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is the same law preventing MB from using the Euro-amber LED rear turn signals on the face-lifted E-Class and GLK-Class. This law really needs to be updated. It was originally intended to ensure proper illumination, but modern LEDs can be plenty bright in a very compact size.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @sjmoo
        The problem isn't just total light output. It is the brightness per square area. You can make it very bright and very small and it becomes very hard to look at. Thus it fails to be an effective turn signal and more of a distraction. There is also a minimum headlight size for the same reason and that certainly isn't because someone thinks they can't be made bright enough, you aren't even looking at your own headlights, just what they throw light on!
        Dean
        • 1 Year Ago
        @sjmoo
        I'm not so sure about that...I've seen some Mercedes-Benz SUVs with rear amber LED turn signals. A lot of their cars also have amber LED front turn signals, and repeaters integrated into the mirrors...
          sjmoo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean
          That is true, but has nothing to do with what I was saying. Specifically, the taillights on the 2014 E-Class and the 2014 GLK-Class need to be rewired specifically for the US market. They have a small white strip at the bottom where amber LED signals are located on Euro-market cars. In the US, those lights cannot legally be used and the brake-lights are rewired to act as both turn signals and brake lights.
          Dean
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean
          Reading comprehension issues on my end.
      bart
      • 1 Year Ago
      DOT is retarded, yellow bumper side markers, but hey its ok if the rear turn signals stay red? Ya makes alot of sense there... I import euro spec headlights and tail lights, screw them.
        Greg
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bart
        Will you pass automotive inspections with the European spec lights though???
      4RR4Y
      • 1 Year Ago
      The outdated automotive lighting regulation needs to be overhauled, much like the outdated vehicle importation regulations. How is the US to pioneer anything in regard to our transportation system if we continue to live in the past??
      jebibudala
      • 1 Year Ago
      More of the same government stories continually impeding advancement in technology. Back in 2002 Maserati Coupe/ 4200's has to switch out their LED tail lights with incandescent ones due to similar restrictive regulation non-sense. Even though the LED's are more visible and safer, government didn't see it that way. If they MUST impose regulation, it should be in a manner of brightness and visibility instead of some other moronic calculation. Who makes up these stupid restrictions in the first place? But I suppose we are the idiots for electing the same morons in the first place. So I'm just going to blame Prius owners.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jebibudala
        All cars sold in this US must have DOT-approved lights all around. Maserati apparently didn't wish to take the time and money to get their lamps DOT-approved. This is Maserati's fault and it's nothing to do with LEDs, even if the originals were incandescent, they would have to be DOT approved. In the case of those Maserati's, it's clear they were not visible from the side. A car sold in the US must have yellow reflectors at the front on the side and red reflectors at the rear on the side. And the car must also, at light, have a yellow light at the front on the side and a red one in the rear. The European Maserati Coupe had no red reflectors or marker lights on the side at the rear so the taillights had to be changed. LED or no. That isn't the case here, Audi wants to get their lamps DOT-approved, it just may be the DOT won't do it.
          DeathKnoT
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          DOT allows yellow or white front marker lights. They are usually yellow as they can use a dual filament bulb in the turn signals, its very rare to see white ones in the us but it is allowed. Where as ece requires front white parking lights. But, yes it does required side markers and retro reflectors. I question how useful sidemarkers are myself. the old ones that were physically separated from the headlights and taillights were much more useful. ECE allows side markers too but the rear should also be yellow, as the front and not red unless its integrated in the taillight. I think the visibility requirements are also greater if they are used.
          Carl Engeb
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          Guess Audi isn't greasing the right palms in D.C.
      ChaosphereIX
      • 1 Year Ago
      they need to change that archaic law ruined the Maserati 4200 when it came over - those boomerang rear LED lights were amazing, and then to get it in the US they had to add stupid massive rear lights that made it look like a Honda LEDs are cool and get the job done - stop it with this stupidness
      Flaps
      • 1 Year Ago
      22 square centimeters is 3.41 square inches and 50 square centimeters is 7.75 square inches. You divide the number by 2.54^2, not just 2.54.
      Brian B.
      • 1 Year Ago
      US DOT is great at ruining Euro lighting designs. They need to reevaluate their standards. They are not in line with modern automotive lighting. How about some real safety standards that make sense, like separate turn signals that are amber and not red. Our government is a joke, as evident by the current shutdown.
      GoSpeedRacerGo
      • 1 Year Ago
      DOT is right on top of new technology, as usual. Is this really so controversial?
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