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Mercedes turns headlights into movie projectors

By Andy Enright, 29 Nov 2017 News

Stuttgart revolutionises lighting with million-pixel smart lights

Mercedes projector headlights cover LONG

MERCEDES-BENZ has unveiled a prototype lighting unit that features a megapixel lighting pod capable of projecting animated or still images onto the road ahead.

The Stuttgart company’s current state of the art lighting system is the Multibeam LED light pod, which features 84 individual diodes, capable of forming a U-shape to keep other vehicles in a dimmed cone of light. But forget about all that. It’s become hopelessly obsolete at a stroke.

The new system is currently only in the testing phase, and would need to overcome a few legislative framework issues before it’s offered to customers, but, as spokesman Bernhard Weidemann explained, the possibilities are enormous.

“We can create dimmed squares that don’t dazzle pedestrians or cyclists,” he said.

The system’s flexibility is such that it can potentially identify a number of targets and dim the beams at them simultaneously while otherwise maintaining full beam.

“We can only work in monochrome at the moment, because there are certain colours that are reserved. Blue lights for law enforcement, red for tail lights and so on, but we’re only really starting to understand the potential of these lights,” he admitted.

Click on the video above to see the resolution of the development light units. They’re capable of projecting zebra crossings onto the road ahead to encourage pedestrians to cross, or can project hook turn symbols or put an animal in road warning onto the bitumen if you want to warn oncoming vehicles of a stray Skippy.

There’s no word on when these lights will appear in a production Benz, but by the time they do, the price should be a little more manageable. When asked how much the development units cost, Weidemann admitted they were the price of an entry-level Mercedes A-Class (around $38,000).