Imagine a world where you never have to worry about turning down your brights as you drive. We’ve all been there, happily zooming down a country lane or lonely highway with the road in front of us bathed in ample light, our cars cutting through the darkness with high beams in full force.
Then a car approaches.
We think nothing of it until the approaching vehicle flashes its high beams, causing us to remember that we are blinding this fellow traveler. In our haste to quickly turn off the high beams, we spill our drink and accidentally flip on our right turn signal.
By the time we recover, the approaching car is long gone and we flip the high beams back on, only to repeat the process a few miles down the road.
There has to be a better way.
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, BMW unveiled its solution to the age-old problem of high beams. And it’s wicked cool.
The traditional headlights of today serve a single function: illuminate the road ahead. BMW’s idea uses the headlights to accomplish a number of goals, including illumination, keeping pedestrians safe, and measuring distances to ensure safe vehicle passage.
Check out this video:
BMW’s new LED headlights automatically switch to high beams when the car exceeds 45 miles per hour. Here’s the cool part, though: The beams detect other cars on the road and selectively exclude them from the high beam laser light distribution.
The lights can also measure the width of approaching road constrictions and let the driver know if the vehicle can safely pass.
I know, these concepts go a little beyond the realm of human comprehension, but it means you and I could drive with high beams glaring and never have to worry about blinding approaching drivers or hastily fumbling to turn off our brights. This is pure genius. This is the kind of car technology that modern society needs.
On the other hand, it probably means the days of $5,000 headlamp-bulb replacements are fast approaching.
Would you like to have a car with BMW’s new headlight technology?