The Road to Active Light - Headlamp Concepts with Enhanced Adaptive Functionalities



SAE World Congress & Exhibition
Authors Abstract
The discussions of lighting experts in recent years formed the vision of an intelligent headlamp concept for the next decade: An intelligent headlamp system that will illuminate the road according to the driving conditions and, most importantly, that will react to oncoming and preceding traffic.
The final stage of this scenario will be an “Active Headlamp” that will, similar to the current high beam, illuminate the complete road scene but exclude other road-users in front and on the opposite side of the road from glare, but not from signal information of the lamp. It is obvious that configurations having such a precise performance can be realized only with complex systems with highly sophisticated sensors, processors and actuators. With respect to the maturity of the available technology, the necessary development will take several years. However, on the way to this level of performance, new headlamp concepts with enhanced adaptive functionalities will even now remarkably improve the conditions for optical perception in the case of night-time driving:
  • Night-vision systems will allow a view of the complete road scene, with the aid of an IR camera.
  • High-beam assistance switches automatically between high and low beam.
  • The radio reception of GPS data with the use of digital maps will improve the performance of AFS headlamp systems.
  • The dynamic control of the cut-off line of the headlamp will adjust the beam pattern to the traffic conditions.
This article attempts to provide some insight into the development status of the above-mentioned systems, with their functional possibilities and technological implementation.
It concludes with a look at the future potential of active lighting systems, with the next steps for their implementation.
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Decker, D., Himmler, A., and Amsel, C., "The Road to Active Light - Headlamp Concepts with Enhanced Adaptive Functionalities," SAE Technical Paper 2007-01-0601, 2007,
Additional Details
Apr 16, 2007
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Technical Paper