Audi announces smart Matrix LED headlights

June 28, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
With arrays of 25 high-beam LEDs in each headlight, Audi plans to significantly increase the lighting quality of its vehicles. Quality in this context means: High beam light without bedazzling oncoming traffic. For this purpose the LEDs are switched on and off by a control unit which in turn receives its signals from a camera. The system will make its debut in the new A8 flagship model available later this year.

The Matrix LED technology splits up the LED high-beam headlights into numerous individual, small light sources working in conjunction with lenses or reflectors connected in series. Managed by a control unit, they are activated and deactivated or dimmed individually according to the situation. Therefore they always supply high-precision illumination and achieve the maximum possible light yield without a pivoting mechanism. 
Audi claims that this electronic control is faster and much more effective than existing dipping systems.

In the new Audi 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.

As soon the camera located near the rear-view mirror detects oncoming vehicles, the Matrix LED headlights dip the relevant sections of the high-beam headlights. The system 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. The closer an approaching vehicle gets, the more LEDs are deactivated or dimmed.

The Matrix LED technology teams 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 of the Audi Matrix LED headlights 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 Audi A8 is the turn signal with dynamic display: The LEDs in the turn signals