Volvo's permanent high beams keep other drivers in the shade
By David Szondy
February 28, 2013
Being dazzled by car high beams is no joke. Having someone come around the corner and forget to dip their headlamps isn't just annoying, it’s potentially dangerous. To be featured at next week's Geneva Motor Show, Volvo’s Active High Beam Control is a mechanical system installed in the headlamps that actively and selectively shields oncoming or cars being followed from the lights. This allows Volvo drivers to keep their high beams on continually without fear of dazzling others or being unable to see a suddenly darkened road.
With Volvo's Active High Beam Control, the car’s lights still illuminate the road everywhere except cars approaching from the opposite direction or cars being approached from behind. This means that you can still see the sides of the road and the other driver can confidently stay in control of their car.
It does this by means of the camera already installed in the Volvo’s rear-view mirror for the car’s detection and auto braking system. The camera detects the other car and calculates the area to be shaded within a 1.5-degree margin. The Active Beam Control system then activates a tiny cylinder with different sized metal pieces that shade the selected area to the proper degree.
"Our aim with the renewed Active High Beam Control technology is to enhance visibility in the dark by making it possible to use high beam permanently, without having to switch to low beam when meeting or catching up with other cars," said Prof. Lotta Jakobsson, Senior Technical Specialist Safety at Volvo Cars Safety Centre.
According to Volvo, the system also works with motorcycles and at speeds down to 9 mph (15 km/h). The company will have the system on display at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show next week and it will be available in the Volvo S60, V60 and XC60 models from the Northern Hemisphere spring of this year.