Audi Gives You a Look Into Its Lights

Sections: Car Safety, Chassis

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The headlight assembly of an Audi S3

Audi has become famous for its headlights. This week, the brand issued a press release giving us an inside look at its lighting technologies. (Photo courtesy Audi.)

Audi has become so famous for its lights that aftermarket and some OEM headlight manufacturers have started ripping off the brand’s trademark LED strips. This week, Audi put out a press release giving us a look into its lighting technology.

The Brand of the Four Rings now offers those signature LED daytime running lights across all its models, the release said, from the bottom of the range to the top:

In the A1, two light-emitting diodes are used per unit; they emit their light into a transparent polymer tube, the light guide, which generates a uniform contour. In the Audi A7 Sportback, the daytime running lights of the optional LED headlights also appear linear, but they originate from 18 individual LEDs with a polymer body in front of them. The LED daytime running lights consume fewer watts of power, have extremely long life and are maintenance-free.

The brand’s xenon plus headlights are offered in all models, some as standard equipment and others as an extra-cost option. While some xenon lamps use two separate “burners” to heat the gas inside them for low and high beam use, Audi’s system uses just one burner and a movable shutter to change the light pattern and intensity, the release said.

Audi also said it has been implementing full LED headlight assemblies in some models, including the R8 and A3. With a color spectrum close to natural daylight and a long, maintenance-free lifespan, the lights are said to be highly efficient:

The low-beam light, for example, only consumes around 40 watts, which is five percent less than xenon plus units.

Full LED tail lights have been more commonplace than LED headlights, meanwhile. Audi says the LED tail lights serve an important safety function: They light up fractions of a second faster than incandescent brake lights, giving following drivers a slightly faster warning that you are slowing or turning.

Audi says its adaptive lighting systems are available no matter what kind of headlights the vehicle is equipped with, and can swivel or adjust the beam of the lights so they continue lighting the road as efficiently and safely as possible. They even get video cameras in on the act:

One special component of adaptive light is smoothed dynamic headlight leveling. A video camera is used to detect vehicles ahead and oncoming vehicles; then the control module adapts the car’s lighting to the distance to the other vehicles – via a soft transition that always maximizes the amount of illumination.

Perhaps coolest of all is how the headlights are smart enough to key into route data from the MMI navigation system in Audi’s cars. When it is known the car is hitting a straight, divided highway with a relatively fast speed limit, the lights will adjust to give the driver more time to react to conditions ahead, for example. Or when the driver approaches an intersection, the lights go into intersection mode so it’s easier to see down the intersecting street and easier to spot pedestrians.

Would you like one of these features on your car’s headlights? Sound off in the comments.

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