Matrix LED lighting enters the compact class

May 13, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Smart lighting in the shape of electronically controlled Matrix headlamps is a feature exclusively found in the automotive top league, right? This perception is about to change: Opel / Vauxhall announced to equip its compact-class Astra with such a lighting system. The VW Golf rival will be introduced at the IAA motor show in Frankfurt (Germany) later this year.

The move makes Opel’s IntelliLux LED matrix lighting system available for the first time in the compact class. The system enables driving with constantly activated high beam without bedazzling other traffic participants. “By making LED matrix lighting affordable, we democratise high-tech solutions,” commented Opel chief developer Charlie Klein. “This technology increases the safety not only for the driver but likewise for all other traffic participant in the environment.”

The system consists of 16 LED elements, eight at each side of the vehicle. It adapts the luminous range of the light beam and the light distribution automatically and continuously to the traffic situation which has been detected by a front-looking camera behind the mirror. As soon as the vehicle leaves the city limits – detected independently of a GPS system – the high beam is switched constantly to on. If the camera detects oncoming vehicles it masks the respective segment by dimming the LED; the same holds true for vehicles driving into the same direction. The remainder of the road and the surrounding environments remain brightly lit which improves the safety situation. A study from the Technical University of Darmstadt and the European LightSightSafety initiative showed that at a speed of 80 kmph, drivers of cars with such a lighting system can detect roadside objects 30 to 40 metres earlier than with standard halogen or Xenon low-beam. Thus, the drivers have about 1.5 seconds more time to react.

Besides several automatic high-beam and low-beam light distribution modes, Opel’s patented IntelliLux offers a specific motorway lighting mode that further increases the safety during night trips. Also the vehicle’s co-called Welcome function relies on the matrix lighting system. The system does it without any mechanical adjustment, just by dimming the LEDs that cover certain segments. This increases the operational lifetime of the illuminants and the headlight assembly, Opel says.

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