Volvo Has Bright Idea for High Beams


  • Volvo Headlights Picture

    Volvo Headlights Picture

    Volvo will launch an upgraded Active High Beam Control that makes it possible to use high-beam headlights permanently. | February 28, 2013

4 Photos

Just the Facts:
  • Volvo will launch an upgraded Active High Beam Control in the European Volvo S60, V60 and XC60 this spring that makes it possible to use high-beam headlights permanently.
  • When the system detects another car, only the portion of the high beam that would be distracting to other drivers is shaded out.
  • The traffic environment outside the shaded area is still illuminated by the high beam.

GOTHENBURG, Sweden — Volvo will launch an upgraded Active High Beam Control in the European Volvo S60, V60 and XC60 this spring that makes it possible to use high beam headlights permanently.

No word yet on when the technology will debut here. Federal and state laws prohibit the use of high-beam headlights when traffic is approaching. The system will be an option for buyers in Europe.

"All indications are that we will not be offering it here," wrote Jawanza Keita, a Volvo spokesman, in response to an e-mailed query from Edmunds on Thursday.

When the system detects another car, only the portion of the high beam that would be distracting to other drivers is shaded out.

The traffic environment outside the shaded area is still illuminated by the high beam.

Such a system "improves the driver's chances of detecting objects at the side of the road, such as parked cars, unprotected road users and animals," said Volvo in a statement. "The technology makes driving at night more comfortable and safe."

The systems uses a camera mounted on the rearview mirror that relays information to a projector module mechanism in the headlight. A tiny cylinder with metal pieces of different sizes shades areas that would be distracting to other drivers.

Edmunds says: A safer lighting system is on the way. Too bad it's limited to the European market.

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