Awesome adaptive laser headlights are coming!
The US has a very particular set of rules governing the safety requirements of new cars. Some are well crafted and designed to make cars safer for drivers and pedestrians. Others are so draconian, it's hard to believe they are still written into law. One such example is the US's stance on adaptive headlights, which has caused our vehicles to lag behind in terms of safety.
In Europe, companies like Audi and BMW have created laser headlight technology that make for brighter lights and that can be adjusted so as to not blind other drivers. Unfortunately, this technology has been illegal in the US, so we've only received a dumbed-down version. Now, the US government may finally be changing its rules on headlights.
According to Automotive News, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering a change to its headlight rules after several automakers (led by Toyota) have pleaded for changes. The change is currently in a period of review, but if approved, it would allow automakers to install fully adaptive high beams into their cars.
Put simply, this technology can cut out and redirect light if it senses other vehicles or pedestrians. This way, the car can project the maximum amount of light at all times without blinding other drivers or pedestrians. We recently witnessed this technology on the 2019 BMW X5, but it had to be dumbed down for the US to simply deactivate the high beams completely when it detected other sources of light. BMW says the change to a fully adaptive headlight will require more than just a software change.
We hope the US acts intelligently by changing its rule. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 108 is the main reason why we haven't been allowed to have this technology and this rule dates back to 1967. Technology has advanced too far for us to still be relying on a rule created 50 years ago. This will be a welcomed change to US automotive safety rules. Now if we could just do something about our stupid 25-year import restriction.