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Thursday, 18 November 2021 19:32

Biden Infrastructure Law Makes Adaptive Headlights Legal in U.S.

Written by Christopher Smith, Motor1.com
Headlights on a 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Headlights on a 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

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After considerable deliberation from both sides of the congressional aisle, President Joe Biden signed the expansive $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law.

With bipartisan support, the bill tackles everything from road and bridge repair to upgrades for ports, rail systems and electric vehicle expansion. It also addresses a technicality in a 54-year-old rule that prevented automakers from using adaptive headlights in the U.S.

 

That's a big deal, because the tech has the potential to be extremely useful while also creating safer driving conditions after dark.

 

In short, adaptive headlights use a bevy of small LED lights with tiny mirrors and computer control to specifically aim light in various directions. And we mean very specific, as in highlighting individual lanes and even projecting words or symbols onto the road.

 

This can help drivers navigate roads at night, but adaptive headlights can also selectively dim for oncoming traffic, basically creating a shadow so the other driver isn't blinded while keeping the light on full bright everywhere else.

 

Ironically, the clever dual functionality of adaptive headlights is what made them illegal in the U.S. High-beam and low-beam light settings have been around forever, but a safety standard established in 1967 made it illegal for the settings to function simultaneously. For the time it certainly made sense, but that was long before...


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