Yesterday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk replied to a tweet about headlights — yep, headlights. Paul Kelly shared a photo of new Tesla headlights at the Berlin factory and noted that the lights are fully adaptive on the Berlin-built Model Y. In his second tweet, he shared a video. Elon Musk responded and said something that many who suffer from photophobia (those who are extremely sensitive to light) would find relieving — if only it were legal here.
Yeah, headlights are precision LED, so they can be bright without blinding oncoming traffic, pedestrians & cyclists
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 9, 2021
— Paul Kelly 🇮🇪 (@shortword) October 9, 2021
Tesmanian had more info on the new headlights. The article noted that both the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y will have adaptive headlights in Europe. The lamps will follow the curve of the road and give a better lit and solidified field of vision. The article noted that this is an important step for autonomous vehicles — good headlights will help to correctly show objects around curves.
There have been challenges with bringing this type of technology to the market here in the US. Headlights that have changing beam patterns aren’t allowed to be used for night driving in the US — unlike Europe. The challenge the article referred to is a 1967 US regulation that made it illegal for auto manufacturers to create headlights in which both low and high beams operate at the same time.
Also known as Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, the code serves to reduce traffic accidents. The code is based on old lighting technology and doesn’t necessarily apply to today’s technological innovations, such as adaptive driving beam lights. Headlights involve a self-certification process, meaning that it’s up to each auto manufacturer to keep their lights in line.
Due to this code, US drivers don’t have access to ADB headlights that combat the need to turn off high beams with oncoming traffic. For this to happen, the lights cast a shadow so oncoming drivers can still see while maintaining the high beam brightness needed. You can read more about all of this here.
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