Audi has led the way in the field of lighting technology for years now. Futuristic design is combined with cutting-edge technology, producing a distinctive appearance at the same time as enhancing active safety out on the road.
Comprising dynamic cornering lights, variable headlight range control as well as static turning lights, adaptive light adjusts to the situation in hand to optimum effect, thereby offering increased safety and enabling the driver to react faster.
Winding sections of road are detected based on the movement of the steering wheel, prompting the headlight module to swivel automatically in order to follow the steering angle. The swivel characteristics can be programmed via the Audi drive select driving dynamics control system. There is also an all-weather light function for broader illumination of the road ahead and reduced backglare.
The variable headlight range control uses a video camera to detect the lights of oncoming or preceding vehicles. The range and width of the headlight beams are then smoothly adjusted to suit the ambient conditions. This allows optimum illumination of the road without dazzling other road users.
Networking with the MMI navigation plus allows route details to be retrieved in advance and relayed to the lighting computer. As a result, the system can switch on the turning lights automatically when approaching road junctions. And in countries such as the United Kingdom, the headlights are automatically switched from right-hand to left-hand traffic, simply based on the reception of geo-coordinates.
Light-emitting diodes boast a wealth of technical advantages compared to conventional bulbs. These include: far superior light yield/energy efficiency, lower heat build-up, significant benefits in terms of space required and scope for design, as well as their long service life, which far exceeds that of a vehicle under optimum conditions. They are furthermore maintenance free and attain their full brightness in the space of a few nanoseconds – this is around a million times faster than conventional bulbs or xenon systems, offering an additional safety boost in indicator and brake lights especially.
In 2013, the EU Commission in Brussels (European Commission DG Climate Action, Unit C.2 Transport & Ozone) officially recognised the inclusion of LED exterior lighting on Audi A6 models since 2009 as an eco-innovation, making Audi the world’s first manufacturer to be awarded this title.
Numerous Audi models are equipped with LED daytime running lights. Composed of white light-emitting diodes and optical fibres, they come in different variations for each model. The LED technology makes it easy for other road users to spot the vehicle, regardless of the daytime lighting conditions. Another benefit is the low energy consumption of these special daytime running lights compared to the normal low beam.
The LED rear lights produce an unmistakable light pattern, which even creates three-dimensional effects in many cases. In contrast to conventional bulbs, light-emitting diodes reach their full intensity extremely fast in the space of just a few nanoseconds and without any delay. If the driver has to brake sharply, anyone following behind gains valuable extra fractions of a second to react thanks to the lights’ fast response. When travelling at a speed of 100 km/h, for example, an LED brake light is visible at full brightness around nine metres sooner.
The state-of-the-art technology in LED headlights also boasts all the abovementioned advantages of light-emitting diodes. The technology manifests itself not just in their design, but in their exceptional energy efficiency too: today’s LED headlights are around 2 to 3 times brighter than halogen variants at the same power consumption. Fans are additionally installed to direct the heat dissipated by the LEDs onto the headlight lens in order to keep it free of snow and prevent misting up in the winter.
The Audi Matrix LED headlights in the Audi A8 represent the very latest in production technology. The high beam of each headlight is divided up into 25 small light-emitting diodes, with clusters of five housed together in a single reflector. The particular light it casts ensures excellent illumination of the road at all times without dazzling other road users. It can furthermore be set to automatic mode, causing it to instantly dim the LEDs as soon as an oncoming vehicle is detected. All areas between the road users continue to be illuminated at full power though, and the dimmed zones are lit up again as normal as soon as the oncoming traffic has passed. The headlights are also able to offer the predictive (i.e. anticipatory) cornering light function for guiding the driver into bends with the light beam.
In the Audi A8, the Matrix LED headlights work in unison with the optional night vision assistant to provide yet another extra function: if a pedestrian is detected in the critical zone in front of the car, individual LEDs flash three times in quick succession. This has the effect of making both road users aware of the other’s presence.