Okay, that might be shooting for the moon. But you have to admire the gutsiness of claim by Stephan Berlitz, Audi’s head of lighting development. Mr. Berlitz was referring to the technology seen above. Audi’s “Matrix” light system uses a camera on the car to control 50 miniature LED lamps to spare as many as eight oncoming vehicles from the super-bright white beams.
That means that if you spot an Audi approaching at night, you no longer have to pre-emptively squint in anticipation of beams so bright you might be distracted from little things like, you know, driving. And if you’re an Audi driver with this new lighting system, you no longer have to switch off your high beams if cars are approaching—unless there are more than eight of them, that is.
In fact, with Audi’s Matrix system, a GPS will read your surroundings and automatically turn on your high beams for you. It’s essentially a step forward in automotive intelligence—with the car taking care of things that drivers used to have to do, our attention can be focused on the road.
So far Matrix technology is only available abroad, but with its successful introduction on the A8 in Germany this past November, it likely shouldn’t be too long until we see it trickle out to the U.S.
In terms of competition, BMW has developed a similar lighting method that works to shield one approaching vehicle, but cannot adapt to multiple vehicles. Mercedes is working on a similar feature for their S-Class, which can also reputedly shield cars in front of you—isn’t it terrible when the person behind you has their brights on? The S-Class appears to be able to shield multiple oncoming cars from its high beams, but we’re not clear how many it will be able to handle.
Overall, we think this is a really positive feature that should make the roads safer and reduce the complexity of driving. Awesome.