Mazda Adaptive LED Headlights Technology to Come to Future Mazda Passenger Vehicles

2014 Mazda3 Headlight 1 photo
Photo: original photo by autoevolution
Most petrolheads know what adaptive headlights do: the beams turn around the bend as you turn the steering wheel, improving better view of what is ahead especially during nighttime driving. To boot, this type of headlights also includes a self-levelling system designed to prevent your headlights from pointing too far up, unfashionably blinding passing motorists. But the peeps over at Mazda are set to improve this design with the so-called Adaptive LED Headlights or ALH for short. As its name implies, this next-gen tech doesn't employ the xenon or halogen of yesteryear, but an array of glare-free LED high beam illumination. Mazda is the first Japanese automaker to reveal such a system to the public. Slated to be detailed later in the week at the CEATEC JAPAN 2014 electronics exhibition, the venue will also see the debut of a Mazda3 compact vehicle fitted with advanced automated driving tech. So how does this ALH thingy work?
The Japanese automaker says that within the LED array of the Adaptive LED Headlights (ALH) system, the LED light source for the high beams is divided into four blocks which can be switched on and off independently. Furthermore, the next-generation system uses a camera to detect the headlamps of oncoming vehicles or the taillights of cars ahead.

If the situation demands it, the ALH's electronic brain turns off only the light-source block illuminating in the specific direction of other cars. This makes it possible to drive with the high beams on at all times, improving visibility when driving at night without dazzling drivers of vehicles in front of your car.

ALH technology also features LEDs that handle the wide-distribution low beams. Engineers added a light emitting diode to the side of the headlamps in order to illuminate areas where traditional headlamps can't. Such a design makes it easier to identify pedestrians or wildlife at night, which is pretty handy.

A so-called Nightway Mode utilizes the motor of the headlamps' auto-leveling mechanism to raise the axis of lighting when the car is travelling at high speeds, making it easier to see road signs and obstacles as early as possible. ALH will be incorporated in the automaker's i-Activesense range of safety features.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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