Audi Previews Design of New Headlights
Audi’s new ‘Matrix LED’ headlights will make their debut on the new A8, which is appearing on the market at the end of 2013.
The Matrix LED technology splits up the LED high-beam headlights into numerous individual, small diodes working in conjunction with lenses or reflectors connected in series. Managed by a responsive control unit, they are activated and deactivated or dimmed individually according to the situation. This means they are able to supply illumination and maximum light yield without needing a pivoting mechanism.
In the new A8, each headlight comprises 25 high-beam light-emitting diodes, arranged in groups of five per reflector. When the light switch is set to “automatic” and the high-beam headlights are on, the system is activated from 30 km/h (18.64 mph) on highways and from 60 km/h (37.28 mph) on city streets. The headlights produce a quality of light with a distinct crystalline sheen. By day, too, they have a distinctive look, which is reinforced by the new styling of the daytime running lights.
As soon the camera in the A8 detects oncoming vehicles, the headlights dip the relevant sections of the high-beam headlights. The system operates with such precision that it blanks out light that would shine directly onto oncoming and preceding vehicles, but continues to cast the high beams with full power on all other zones between and beside them. When there is no more oncoming traffic, the high-beam headlights then resume full power, including the sections that had previously been off. The light that the driver sees is always brighter and more homogeneous than that produced by regular mechanical dipping systems.
One of the safety functions in the A8 involves providing what are known as marker lights: These team up with the optional night vision assistant to mark detected pedestrians. When it detects a person in the critical range in front of the car, individual LEDs flash at them rapidly three times in succession, picking out the pedestrian clearly from their surroundings and alerting both the pedestrian and the driver.
The light-emitting diodes also perform the cornering light function; they displace the emphasis of the beam in the direction of the bend. By calling on predictive route data supplied by the MMI navigation plus, they do so shortly before the steering needs to be turned. Another function in the new A8 is the turn signal with dynamic display: The LEDs in the turn signals flash in blocks at 150 millisecond intervals in the direction that the driver intends to turn.