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Cooley On Cars
Smarter Driver: When headlights take aimYou can't avoid crashing into what you can't see. Traditional headlights show you what's in your path now, but adaptive headlights show what's in your path next. CNET's Brian Cooley explores new technologies for your car headlamps.
You can't avoid crashing into what you can't see. Traditional headlights are you what's in your path now. Adaptive headlights for you -- in your path that. The concept goes back all the way to the talker. To had a third -- headlight that mechanically followed the steering rack rather grisly. Today two major technology is get this done better. Some cars have special lights and -- -- into the corners and only turn on as you turn the wheel to navigate across. More common are cars that have motorized headless assemblies. It actually swivel left or right based on your steering angle and your vehicle speak. One of the newer technologies -- has been shown bite out. -- called LED matrix headlights out he's developed these if you look inside there you're going to see five LED assembly so they are there. Each of those available five LEV -- -- of 25 pieces here. Point 51 the other side they tell me that you can do a billion combinations of life. Based on direction based on the seat but the thing and even based on where it's pointing. And they do the -- and not by moving things on swivels like most cars do but by actually changing what light elements are on. And the intensity of each one. This is interesting because they can use GPS instead of the steering column to re -- the lights where you're going. It knows where the curve is coming before you steer into it so the light is there even before you are. Whereas current car's weight for your -- input in theory put in the lights reaction a little bit behind where you need to be looking. This tech's not for sale in the US yet not because it isn't ready. But because the Department of Transportation and other regulators just haven't caught up with -- yet. And don't quite know how to classify it other countries do have it for sale. -- this is laser light. Coming in the future this is really cutting edge stuff. Put out he's done here is -- a laser hiding specific lighting system. -- incredible range we're talking 500 -- that's 15100. Feet. Trust your current high beams don't see out that far. And of course of incredible intensity and security of light that laser is known for and the similar low energy consumption that LED is known for. What's happening inside here is actually a bit of a misnomer you may think this is like some Pink Floyd concert where they're -- lasers all over the road. Not the case this is the module it's in the guts of this thing. The actual laser is behind this piece of circuit board and it's only going as far as this barrel it's playing this way. To that piece of possible or there which gets excited by the laser light and then it emits the light. Then there's no lands and that -- that's incredible brightness so if you think about this is being lasers -- all over the road that's not how it works. But it -- is laser technology nonetheless. As you can see a benefit of this design is it's extremely compact and it's. Freeing up more of the car's front acreage for designers to do things other than just fitting in big lamp assemblies. The IHS rates adaptive lighting among the best of the new crop of driver assistance tech. Recent survey -- -- models of cars equipped with current adaptive headlights have as much as a 10% reduction collision claims. And the IHS estimates that full adoption of this technology one day. Could eliminate as many as a 140 -- and accidents a year. At some point 500 of those fatal. When you're in the market for a new car new -- late model use the pace to double check if its got adaptive headlights that it just.