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Matrix LED headlights finally coming to the US!

I find it hillarious to think that people in the US seem to be unaware of this technology, which is imho one of the most important technical innovations in recent years and has been available over here for quite a few years now.
And not only from Audi. Every large manufacturer offers such headlights. Granted, not on all models yet, but on ever more, from luxury vehicles right down to lowly Opel Astras.

Basically it is like Uncle Paul says, you can constantly drive with your high-beams on, and still no oncoming traffic is blinded by light.
Perfect for driving at night, especially in rural areas like here, with many windings roads through forrested areas.
 

gregd

Active Member
Dec 31, 2014
2,618
1,845
CM98
Interesting, but depending on how it behaves, it could be really distracting to both the driver and the on-coming traffic. I can imagine lights flashing on and off all over the place as changes are triggered. Like driving in a rock band light show.

@AustinPowers, what's it like in real use, with multiple cars active on the same stretch of road?
 
Interesting, but depending on how it behaves, it could be really distracting to both the driver and the on-coming traffic. I can imagine lights flashing on and off all over the place as changes are triggered. Like driving in a rock band light show.

@AustinPowers, what's it like in real use, with multiple cars active on the same stretch of road?

As a member of the oncoming traffic, you don't really notice. That's the beauty of it.
From a driver's perspective I haven't got personal experience yet, as my '04 BMW doesn't have it.
But the e-Golf I ordered and which will be delivered "before the end of the year" (or so I've been told ;)) has this technology. As soon as I can tell about my first experiences with the system, I will give an "eyewitness account" here.
 
Interesting, but depending on how it behaves, it could be really distracting to both the driver and the on-coming traffic. I can imagine lights flashing on and off all over the place as changes are triggered. Like driving in a rock band light show.

@AustinPowers, what's it like in real use, with multiple cars active on the same stretch of road?

I hope you don't mind me chipping in. I've driven two cars that where fitted with the advanced LED high beam technology: a 2016 Volvo XC90 for a year, and a 2017 Audi Q7 with Matrix LED lights for almost 2 years. On both cars the outside matrix cells double as 'mist lamps', and on the Q7 it also doubles as 'cornering lights' when turning the wheel on lower speeds.

Both high beam systems work roughly the same (they are both produced by lighting manufacturer and patent holder Hella, as is with most the systems in the other brands): the high beam is always on, but it's blacked out where other cars drive. Volvo has restricted this feature to use-only outside of city boundaries (it uses map data to determine your location and the type of road you're on) and at speeds over 45mph, if my recollection is correct.

For oncoming traffic it is all the same: you will never notice the high beams. The systems can trace up to about 20 cars (and keep functioning as described), but as soon as more cars are detected by the camera, it switches off the high beams. The difference between the car manufacturer implementations is in the complexity of the systems and the way they function. The XC90 for instance incorporates the function as standard on all front lights (the halogen headlight option existed only for a few weeks, untill it was dropped by Volvo due to it affecting the looks of the car too much, thus compromising it's 'premium' status), but it has just a few 'matrix zones' per lamp that switch on and off. This means that you can really see large chunks of light switch on and off when a car drives through your view. Still, the rest of your view is very well lit and the upcoming car(s) will never notice, but the 'chunks' of black in your view are more than well noticeable.

The matrix LED system on the Q7 on the other hand is a €3600 option over the standard xenon high beams. Now given that the option pricing on Audis could never be a surprice, the brand does make that up (at least a bit) by making good on it's 'vorsprung durch technik' promise. This system is A LOT more advanced. It means the unlit areas surrounding the cars in front are very narrowly boxed around those vehicles. Moreover, as it's matrix cells are much smaller, it also smoothes the light transitions by gradually dimming and lighting those areas when the matrix is moving from left to right. It most certainly makes the system work a lot more natural and (thus) unnoticeable than on the XC90.

I've switched to the model X last September. There's a lot to love about this car, maybe even as much as there is to be missed about the aforementioned ones. The Tesla high beams and the way they operate certainly belong to the latter category, once you've grown accustomed to the more advanced (and now in the USA, finally, road-legal) advanced high beam systems. I'm hoping a retrofit option will arrive any day soon. I will be in front of the line to have one fitted!
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
17,982
44,290
Oregon
The Tesla high beams and the way they operate certainly belong to the latter category, once you've grown accustomed to the more advanced (and now in the USA, finally, road-legal) advanced high beam systems. I'm hoping a retrofit option will arrive any day soon. I will be in front of the line to have one fitted!

They aren't legal in the US yet. They are just thinking about making them legal.
 

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