“Digital Light”: Mercedes Headlights that Project Images onto the Roadway
Humans don’t see all that well at night- that’s why motor vehicles have headlights. But even with modern headlights, such as Xenon bulb-based systems, driving at night is still a challenge for most drivers. Well, Mercedes may be able to help even more in this area.
The German-based company is working on special headlights that are so accurate that they can project a movie onto a screen. Reflecting light emitted from an LED, these lights use ultra-small mirrors to project a focused beam down the road. Called “Digital Light”, the system can not only help drivers see ahead better, but also provide them with valuable information, such as:
- Creating lane markings where they are missing, such as in a construction zone
- Projecting arrows on the roadway to help drivers navigate to their destination
- Illuminating potential hazards, such as wildlife or a pedestrian.
Digital Light can even project a crosswalk, perpendicular to the vehicle’s direction of travel, to help the driver communicate to a pedestrian that it’s OK to cross the street.
While no headlight system can exactly create the visual scope experienced by drivers in daylight, the Digital Light system may hold potential to help drivers see even more at night. Mercedes hopes to release the system in a few years.