Headlights are not typically one of those features most people pay a lot of attention to on a vehicle. They need to be present and have an important job to do, but most people notice them more when they go out than when they are working as expected. Volkswagen just might change that. The German automaker showed off its next generation of vehicle lights, and they smarter and better-looking than anything that has come before them.
Volkswagen’s IQ.Light is basically a reimagining of what the standard headlight can look like — and what it can offer the driver and others on the road. For one, they’ll be extremely bright. The company said the IQ.Light in the new Touareg sports a total of 256 LEDs. In the high beams, the LEDs can light up the road for a range of up to 500 meters. Volkswagen’s HD LCD headlamps have 30,000 pixels per headlamp (not quite the 42,000 pixels Lexus crammed in its lights, but close). They will offer some new potential lighting functions standard lights simply can’t achieve.
On top of just being darn bright, the IQ.Lights are also much smarter than the alternatives. They come with a camera that serves as a set of eyes on the road that can help to avoid any lighting-related distractions. For instance, the headlamps can identify reflective signs and dim the lights to avoid creating an intense reflection that would distract the driver. The lights can also project the lane width of a road and use that information to better light up the dark spots ahead of you. Dynamic lighting keeps the high beams on until another car comes by, at which point the lights will automatically dim to prevent blinding oncoming drivers.
“The lighting of the future will become a means of communication. It will interact with the driver and with other road users — whether in a car, on a motorcycle or bicycle, or as a pedestrian on the road — measurably improving safety,” Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen’s designer-in-chief, said in a statement. “At the same time, we will integrate the lighting functions into the design of the vehicles more progressively than ever before.” Volkswagen’s innovations in lighting are important ones for the safety of everyone on the road. According to the National Safety Council, 50 percent of traffic deaths happen at night.