NHTSA Working on Better Headlights
June 19, 2019—Millions of Americans are driving around in the dark. That’s not a metaphor, it’s of the state of U.S. headlight technology and maintenance compared to places like Canada, Europe and Japan, reported The Detroit Free Press. Only about half of 2018 model year vehicles in the U.S. offered “adequate” headlights, and frequently only on expensive, option-laden models.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which sets standards for vehicle safety, is working on a rules for a new technology called adaptive driving beam or ADB lights.
ADB lights consist of arrays of many LED lights, full-time high beams and systems to direct light away from other drivers' eyes and toward street signs or potential obstacles.
The latest ADB lights use digital cameras to detect oncoming vehicles, street signs, etc. Software turns selected LEDs on or off, keeping light out of oncoming drivers’ eyes and illuminating signs, pedestrians, detours, etc. Early ADBs used lenses or mechanical shutters to do the same thing.
The LEDS should last the life of the vehicle and won't lead to higher replacement costs.