United States bans the matrix-beam headlights found on Audi A8

Article by Christian A., on March 22, 2013

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Audi displayed an A8 sedan with headlights that see around corners and light up more space without blinding approaching motorists. It won’t be long before European customers can buy this model with this feature. American fans would be dismayed to know that these headlights can’t be used in the U.S. because a 45-year-old regulation disallows their use on U.S. roads.

When interviewed, Stephan Berlitz, Audi's head of lighting innovations, said that in the last 10-15 years, the lighting technology has changed radically. He said that this regulation from 1968 makes it hard to do all these innovations. Audi is one of the automakers and lighting makers that are working to get this rule changed.

With the self-adjusting Audi lights, there could be no difference between low- and high-beam settings. Representatives from around the industry are getting ready to meet with U.S. regulators as a move forward to revising this standard. Throughout many years, this headlight rule has received updates. It’s actually one of the oldest rule in U.S. car safety; it’s even older than the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which was created in 1970. Since then, headlight technology has progressed. From sealed beams, halogen arrived. This was then followed by xenon and later to LEDS or light-emitting diodes.

NHTSA officials are open to new technology but they’re not entirely sure that LED lights enhance safety. In the agency’s report that came out last month, it said that there were more rear-end collisions in majority of models that made the switch from incandescent lamps to LED brake lighting. The Matrix-beam headlights from Audi will first be offered as optional on the A8, which has a starting price of 70,000 euros in Germany.

Brad Stertz, a U.S.-based Audi spokesman, said that it’s expected that the lights will be offered in non-U.S. locations by 2014. These headlights mark the first use of multiple LEDs to permit drivers to basically have their high beams on all the time. Due to the use of cameras and sensors, the LEDs are directed to dim or to turn off depending on what’s in front of them. This means that visibility is improved due to the changing series of lights and shadows.

Audi’s designs always fascinate because of their intricate intelligence. The outer layer of the new Audi A8 expresses consistency, like it was formed from a complete volume. A coupé-like roof structure creates a flow in the silhouette; sculpted forms communicate calm and stature, contrasting with crisp lines. The new A8 emphasises the prominent spot held by Audi in the area of vehicle design. Signifying the best advances in most modern innovations, the Audi A8 expresses this position with its new, enlightened design features.

This new luxury sedan boasts generous proportions: 5137 mm (16.85 ft) long, a 2992 mm (9.82 ft) wheelbase, 1949 mm (6.39 ft) wide, and 1460 mm (4.79 ft) high. The Audi A8 drastically exceeds the width and length its predecessor and competitors. But its height stays below that of its immediate German rivals; these dimensions follow the vibrant line.

Audi A8 presents its single-framed radiator grille proudly, like a coat of arms. Framed with chrome edges, the grille represents a new style: sculpted, three-dimensional, and sumptuous in detail. With angled top corners, it neatly integrates with the front, while the pronounced, lateral chrome structure emphasises the vehicle breadth.

A8 peers onto the world through new headlight designs that come with xenon plus units and the advanced full LEDs. Audi was first to use this technology globally in the R8 high-performing sports car. The adjusting light system enhances the xenon plus units, and it directs the swivelling components, always providing the best lighting.

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