Audi Launches Matrix Emoticon Headlights in Japan

Audi Launches Matrix Emoticon Headlights in Japan 3 photos
Photo: Audi
Audi Launches Matrix Emoticon Headlights in JapanAudi Launches Matrix Emoticon Headlights in Japan
Japan has some of the most polite drivers in the world. They don't speed, and the language doesn't even have that many swearing words. However, being stuck in tin boxes means there are few ways to communicate with fellow motorists and convey your thanks.
Being the clever German engineers that they are, Audi's workers have developed the world's first Matrix LED headlights with Kaomoji technology. That's the Japanese word for emoticons.

The idea is so simple that it makes you wonder why nobody ever thought of it before. Because Audis have so many LEDs at the front, and they can be controlled individually, turning them into chat messengers is a piece of cake.

The system is part of an optional feature called Active Driver Condition Indicator that costs 500,000 yen or about $4,500. That might seem expensive at first glance, but it also manages the health of the driver.

"The emoticons have been adapted from those used y the average Japanese online surfer. Japanse emoticons have a much higher power of expression. They have been designed around the design language of the car. These LED lights will promote safety and communication between drivers," says the development team.

Sensors built into the back of the seat determine the state of the driver and can warn him if the blood pressure becomes dangerously high. The MMI controller is used to change what the screen shows or what emoticon is displayed.

For another 250,000 yen or $2,200, Audi can also supply you with Active Rear Gratitude Assist. The system uses the complex LED taillights of the car to thank the driver behind or apologize for making a mistake. Studies have shown that by doing this, the stress levels of all motorists involved can be reduced by half.

Japanese automakers have also tried to make cars emote. For example, Honda revealed its idea for an emoticon license plate, which uses symbols instead of letters.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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