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New Matrix projector LED vs "old" reflector LED headlights comparison on US cars

casey1202

Member
Mar 13, 2021
41
15
Dallas, TX
I've had exactly the same feeling with my new 2021 M3 LR DM compared with the same model 2019.
Yet, the wider/more spreaded flash of the old ones was disturbing the coming traffic more than the new ones do as the cut is much sharper and evident in the upper end of the flash. New ones are more focused and if i may say, more safe: lightening what it's supposed to be lit, the road ahead you and part of the shoulder; not the moon, the stars, all the surrounding buildings, pedestrians, shops and restaurants...
Totally agree with you - I've had the same experience myself as a driver facing oncoming M3 and MY with the older headlights. I definitely feel like they can dazzle other drivers and in general just seem too bright and unfocused. Having seen the new global lights on several recent M3, the beam is obviously more focused and the cutoff is sharp, like it's lighting what needs to be lit and not making other drivers squint.
 

frankvb

Supporting Member
Feb 29, 2020
838
517
San Diego, CA
I've got to say I disagree with you guys on this. I've got a 2018 BMW X3 with the Executive Package that includes the fully adaptive LED lights and they are really, really good. The technology has come a long way in the last few years and I can easily say they are the best headlights I've ever driven with. While they are certainly impressive on backroads, I live and mostly drive in urban areas and even in the city I find them very helpful. The adaptive features in conjunction with the cornering lights do a great job of illuminating things like curbs, center medians and pedestrians who may otherwise not be well lit when you're crossing a sidewalk into a parking lot, for example.

It's because of my experience with the lights on my X3 that I'm paying such close attention to the new global lights that may or may not be coming to the MY LR.
Agreed on the X3 adaptive lights. However, did you have them recoded? I remember the standard US operation of these was good but not amazing. After recoding they were brilliant (including the 'EU' high beam functionality).
 

brettjson

Member
Feb 27, 2021
100
101
76092

Jjrss

Member
Mar 9, 2021
187
115
Tacoma
Well if we're going to be fair to the journalist, could have heard it straight from Elon Musk. Didn't mean Tesla is actually going to follow through.
The fact they didnt... -10 credibility 🤣

At least we would have know it would have been on Elon time, vs "per an internal sales associate memo"

We know SA's dont get told anything...
 
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MikeHawk

Member
Feb 19, 2021
11
4
USA
Active Matrix and Adaptive are 2 different things. Adaptive is for low beam turning with the vehicles. Active Matrix is a name used by Audi for its "smart" high beam trying to keep as much light as possible without blinding incoming vehicles. It's more than just auto high beam. Adaptive lights are legal in US, but Active matrix is not yet legal. All these tech hardware come with a cost of course. it doesn't make sense to have all the hardware without any foreseeable change in the law to allow its use.
So if the new headlights are adaptive AND matrix, will the headlights eventually "turn" with the steering wheel, the way adaptive headlights are supposed to? This tech already exists in the US with other high end vehicles, so not sure why its not happening with Tesla new headlights. I've seen a youtube video in Europe with Bjorn where he shows the new model 3 headlights are simply amazing how they turn with the roads.

My questions are:
1. Are the turning, adaptive headlights a thing the new lights can do now, or is it waiting approval by the government? And if they dont turn, why not?
2. Are the new headlights "matrix" or matrix compatible, and is this another thing waiting on approval by the government?
3. Are there any other advantages the new headlights will have in possible future software updates?
 

Jjrss

Member
Mar 9, 2021
187
115
Tacoma
So if the new headlights are adaptive AND matrix, will the headlights eventually "turn" with the steering wheel, the way adaptive headlights are supposed to? This tech already exists in the US with other high end vehicles, so not sure why its not happening with Tesla new headlights. I've seen a youtube video in Europe with Bjorn where he shows the new model 3 headlights are simply amazing how they turn with the roads.

My questions are:
1. Are the turning, adaptive headlights a thing the new lights can do now, or is it waiting approval by the government? And if they dont turn, why not?
2. Are the new headlights "matrix" or matrix compatible, and is this another thing waiting on approval by the government?
3. Are there any other advantages the new headlights will have in possible future software updates?
I'm sure by the time any enhanced features are turned on, there will be 10 new iterations/generations of the lights.

Different color frame/trim and shape... more cells, brighter/higher pixel density etc.
 
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bluenycom

Member
Feb 12, 2021
66
65
Rancho Cucamonga
So if the new headlights are adaptive AND matrix, will the headlights eventually "turn" with the steering wheel, the way adaptive headlights are supposed to? This tech already exists in the US with other high end vehicles, so not sure why its not happening with Tesla new headlights. I've seen a youtube video in Europe with Bjorn where he shows the new model 3 headlights are simply amazing how they turn with the roads.

My questions are:
1. Are the turning, adaptive headlights a thing the new lights can do now, or is it waiting approval by the government? And if they dont turn, why not?
2. Are the new headlights "matrix" or matrix compatible, and is this another thing waiting on approval by the government?
3. Are there any other advantages the new headlights will have in possible future software updates?
The "new" headlights have been around for a few months in the US for MYP and M3 but I haven't found any video/document of what's inside them. Do they have the hardwares need to make them adjustable (servos/electric motor) and smart (computer chips) or are they just the "dumb" version for the US market? It's certainly possible that the supplier makes 2 versions using the same light housing, one w/o any electronics and one with everything.
 
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JHCCAZ

Member
Feb 2, 2021
108
131
Tucson
The "new" headlights have been around for a few months in the US for MYP and M3 but I haven't found any video/document of what's inside them. Do they have the hardwares need to make them adjustable (servos/electric motor) and smart (computer chips) or are they just the "dumb" version for the US market? It's certainly possible that the supplier makes 2 versions using the same light housing, one w/o any electronics and one with everything.
In principle, the matrix headlights could use the matrix panel to steer and to set left/right/up/down aiming point without requiring any motor or gimbal mount. That is if the matrix panel (LED array, LCD valve, reflective DMD or whatever) has enough peripheral over-coverage to handle a reasonable calibration and steering range. But then, aiming and adaptive steering features would need to access the matrix using USA-specific firmware that enables necessary basic and legal functions but cripples the advanced selective-dimming feature, the most exciting and safety-enhancing (yet presently illegal) capability.

So it's not necessarily the case that steering-capable lights must actually move the projector housing, but it certainly could be the case in the present generation. It depends on the design choices.

Question: can any owner of a 2021 M3 or MYP confirm whether the headlights appear to perform a self-leveling cycle, where you can see the beam pattern shift and settle-in a couple of seconds after startup? This is a typical behavior of motorized adaptive steering headlights. If they do this, it's very likely that they have the steering capability, even if presently disabled for some reason. But if they don't perform this cal cycle, all it really means is that they are either too primitive or too advanced to be equipped with adaptive steering motors. A teardown would obviously reveal more.

My son owns a Model 3 with the non-projector lights. He says they clearly do not steer and do not exhibit the visible cal cycle on startup. However, there is an aiming control panel in the touchscreen Service Menu, so I think there must be some motor control in there.
 
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