Driving at night is dangerous. Although only 25% of all driving tasks are performed at night, nearly half of all fatal
accidents happen in this time. In order to increase safety when driving under poor visibility conditions, automotive front
lighting systems have undergone a strong development in the last fifteen years.
One important milestone was the introduction of Xenon headlamps in 1992, which provide more and brighter light for
road illumination than ever before. Since then the paradigm of simply providing more light has changed toward
providing optimised light distributions, which support the driver's perception.
A first step in this direction was the introduction of dynamic bend lighting and cornering light in 2003. In 2006 the first
full AFS headlamp (Adaptive Front Lighting System) allowed an optimised adoption of the light distribution to the
These systems use information provided by vehicle sensors and an intelligent algorithm to guide light towards those
areas where needed. Nowadays, even more information about the vehicle's environment is available. Image processing
systems, for example, allow to detect other traffic participants, their speed and their driving directions.
In future headlamp systems these data will be used to constantly regulate the reach of the light distribution thus allowing
a maximal reach without providing glare.
Moreover, technologies that allow to constantly use a high-beam light distribution are under development. These systems
will illuminate the whole traffic area only excluding other traffic participants.
LED light sources will play a significant role in these scenarios, since they allow to precisely illuminate certain areas of
the road, while neighbouring parts will be left in dark.