Audi has always been at the vanguard of headlight tech, and the A6 e-tron Concept shows just how bright the future is.
Back in February, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made an announcement that will finally drag U. S. headlight regulations out of the stone age. At long last, manufactures will be able to equip vehicles on this side of the Pond with adaptive headlights. The move ends a major technological disparity between European and American models, and means we’re about to see some serious innovation when it comes to illumination. Of course, Four Ring fans know Audi has always been at the vanguard of this cutting edge tech — and this latest video from our friends at carwow demonstrates just how bright the future is.
In this clip, presenter Mat Watson gives us a tour of the lighting system on Audi’s A6 e-tron Concept, and the technology on display here is nothing short of incredible. As opposed to an old-school lightbulb, the headlamps are use LED light and a micro-mirror chip to direct the light. That micro-mirror chip is a matrix of 1.3 individual panels, which are invisible unless you’re looking through a microscope at setting which makes a human hair look like a stretch of freeway.
But while they’re tiny, each individual mirror can be tuned on the fly so the assembly can project anything from still images to video. And here, Watson uses the tech to project a video game on the wall.
Before we get to see him do that, however, we get a demonstration of how the system works on the road, and it’s bonkers impressive. Even north of 163 mph, the system lays down what Audi calls a “carpet of light,” and works with the car’s active safety systems to communicate to drivers when it’s safe to change lanes. Plus, the lights also display a cool welcome message when you start the car. It’s kind of akin to the custom puddle lamps that are all the rage right now — but like a million times more cool. Honestly, even as someone who works in the automotive industry, I was blown away.
All gimmicks aside, advances like this are certainly going to make roadways much safer. Because right now? Poor illumination remains a key reason why the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety docks many new vehicles points. And since the agency says roughly half of vehicle fatalities occur at night, getting the best and brightest solutions available is the biggest of no-brainers. Check out the video below, and let me know what you think! Are you stoked Americans will finally be able to see in the dark properly?