Nighttime driving has always been a challenging job for car drivers. The blinding affect caused by the high beam of an approaching vehicle and reduced visibility during night has been a major factor contributing to a large number of car accidents
. To resolve this issue, many car manufacturers including BMW
, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz have introduced a few safety technologies that play a significant role while driving in the dark.
With so many safety technologies entering the market, Mercedes-Benz has introduced a significant feature that will ensure a safer night ride. The company has unveiled a new car safety technology christened as ‘Adaptive High Beam Assistant System’. This new technology automatically adjusts the range of the headlamps with respect to the distance of approaching vehicles. Driving in the dark will now be much safer than ever before.
In comparison to the traditional headlamps, the new high beam system is much more efficient and advantageous. In case of a traditional system, the headlamp only varies between two ranges of beam, either high or low, but in case of the new adaptive system, the beam focus varies between a huge range in line with the current road and traffic conditions. In addition, the adaptive high beam assist also considers the steering angle before adjusting the headlamp especially on tight corners and bends. If the road ahead is clear and open, the system automatically switches to high beam.
Tested in Real-Life Conditions
The use of Adaptive High Beam System is tested under real-life conditions. While practically testing the system, dummy pedestrians were placed at the edge of the road within the distance of 260 m. With the use of the new technology, the dummies were visible from a distance of about 150 m and were detected from a distance of around 260 m. This informs the driver of any obstacle ahead in the road drastically increasing the vision in the dark. The test ensures that this feature will offer a safer journey while driving in the night.
The newly developed technology by Mercedes is completely based on a video camera. This camera is located on the inside of the front windscreen to monitor the condition of the road and the traffic in front of the vehicle.
This camera is further linked to an intelligent image-processing algorithm that reads the data received by the images recorded by the video camera. The data received reveals information on the actual distance of the vehicles and pedestrian from the corresponding vehicle. Based on this information, the bi-xenon headlamp is set to adapt continuously in accordance with the distance of the vehicle in front or the oncoming traffic. The new data is received by the headlamps every 40 milliseconds after which the beam focus varies.
Though the adaptive beam system is fully automatic, the car driver has to switch the rotary light to ‘Auto’ mode and the multi-function stalk on the steering wheel on ‘High Beam’ mode. After this setting, the system automatically starts working once the vehicle exceeds the speed of 55 km/h.
Association with the Intelligent Light System
Mercedes-Benz plans to combine the adaptive high beam system with its Intelligent Light System, a new generation of adaptive headlamps. This system from Mercedes is clubbed with bi-xenon headlamps and fog lamps to ensure better illumination of road edges, tight corners, and provide clear visibility of traffic conditions. In accordance to the prevailing weather and driving conditions, this smart system through its network of electronic controls obtains information that is further used to distribute beam pattern. When combined with adaptive high beam system, the combination is believed to provide even better illumination, which in turn will further improve safety during nighttime journey.
The beam focus is adjusted in the best possible way so that the driver can have better concentration on road and steering wheel. It also helps the car driver to see the course of road, traffic situation, pedestrians, and danger spots at an earlier stage, eventually improving on safety for both the driver and the others sharing the road. With better seeing distance, the system also helps to check car accidents and road mishaps.
The latest innovation in car safety technology by Mercedes-Benz
is soon to be found as a standard safety feature in its new E-Class and the S-Class from spring 2009.