What Are Automatic High Beams and How Do They Work?

What Are Automatic High Beams and How Do They Work?

Many of us have experienced the frustration of driving at night and constantly having to switch between high and low beams to avoid blinding other drivers. This can be especially challenging while driving on a winding road with varying levels of light. As vehicles become more advanced, technologies such as automatic high beams have been developed to make driving at night safer and more convenient. But what are automatic high beams, and how do they work? This guide will give you a run-down on this relatively new feature in modern cars.

What are Automatic High Beams?

Automatic High Beams (AHB) are an innovative feature designed to make nighttime driving safer and more convenient. AHB systems automatically adjust your car’s headlights between high and low beams based on the surrounding traffic conditions. The goal is to provide drivers with the best possible visibility without the hassle of manually switching between beams and without blinding other drivers. This feature is designed to increase safety for both the driver and other road users while also making driving at night more comfortable and less stressful.

The Technology Behind Automatic High Beams

Automatic High Beams use a combination of sensors and cameras to detect oncoming vehicles and adjust the headlights accordingly. When an oncoming vehicle is detected, the AHB system will automatically switch to low beams to avoid blinding the other driver. Here are the components that make up an AHB system:

  • Cameras: These are usually mounted near the rearview mirror on the windshield. They constantly scan the road ahead, detecting the headlights of oncoming vehicles and the taillights of cars in front of you. This allows the system to determine when to switch from high to low beams.
  • Light Sensors: These sensors measure the ambient light conditions. For example, they can tell if you’re driving on a well-lit urban street or a dark rural road. Based on this information, they help decide whether the high beams should be on or off.
  • Control Unit: This is the brain of the operation. It takes the information from the cameras and sensors and makes real-time decisions. The control unit will switch to low beams if the cameras detect an oncoming car. Once the car has passed, it will switch back to high beams if the road is clear and dark enough.

As with many ADAS systems, many moving parts work together to create a safer and more convenient driving experience. Because of this, each sensor must be calibrated correctly and regularly maintained to ensure the AHB system is functioning properly.

Benefits of Automatic High Beams in Nighttime Driving

While many people tend to focus on the convenience aspect of AHB systems, there are also several safety benefits that come with using this feature during nighttime driving. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Improved Visibility: AHB systems ensure that your headlights always provide the correct amount of light. This means you can see obstacles, pedestrians, and other potential hazards much sooner than you might with manual headlight control.
  2. Better Road Focus: Constantly switching between high and low beams can be inconvenient, especially on long drives. AHB systems take over this task, allowing you to concentrate more on the road and less on your headlight settings.
  3. Increased Safety: One of the biggest risks of using high beams is accidentally blinding oncoming drivers, which can lead to accidents. AHB systems automatically switch to low beams when another vehicle is detected, significantly reducing this risk.
  4. Consistent Lighting: AHB systems provide a more consistent lighting experience. This is particularly beneficial on long nighttime drives, as it reduces the strain on your eyes and helps maintain a steady level of alertness.

Because of these benefits, AHB systems have grown in popularity and are now featured in many modern vehicles. In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of AHB systems that are available.

Modern Vehicles Equipped with Automatic High Beams

As technology continues to advance, more and more vehicles are being equipped with AHB systems. Here are some of the manufacturers that offer Automatic High Beams in their vehicles:

  • Toyota and Lexus: New models from Toyota and Lexus include AHB systems as part of their comprehensive safety packages. Toyota’s Safety Sense and Lexus’ Safety System+ both feature this technology.
  • Honda: Select Honda models come equipped with Automatic High Beams as part of the Honda Sensing Suite, which is designed to enhance driver confidence and safety. When driving at night above 25 mph (40 km/h), the system intuitively switches between low and high beams depending on surrounding conditions.
  • Ford: Ford’s Co-Pilot360™ technology includes an AHB feature along with other ADAS systems. Co-Pilot360 is available in Ford models that were manufactured in 2023 or later.
  • BMW: BMW offers a high beam assist system in many of its new models. However, to activate the AHB feature, drivers must purchase it through BMW ConnectedDrive.
  • Mercedes-Benz: The Intelligent Light System in Mercedes-Benz vehicles, such as the E-Class and S-Class, includes Automatic High Beam functionality. This system adjusts the headlights dynamically based on driving conditions and vehicle speed. Other features include automatic headlight range control and corner-illuminating fog lights.
  • Audi: Audi offers AHB systems in most of its models. These systems control the light distribution and range of headlights to adapt to changing road conditions and traffic situations.

As you can see, Automatic High Beams are becoming a standard feature in many modern vehicles, reflecting a broader trend toward integrating advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). These are only some of the examples from popular car brands; many others are also implementing AHB technology in their vehicles. Check with your car manufacturer or dealership to see if AHB is available in the model you want to purchase.

Car ADAS Can Help You Start Your Own ADAS Sensor Calibration Center

The integration of automatic high beam systems into modern vehicles is just one example of how advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are transforming the automotive industry. These systems not only enhance visibility but also significantly reduce the stress of driving after dark. As with any ADAS, automatic high beams require proper calibration to function correctly and provide the intended benefits. This has led to the emergence of ADAS sensor calibration centers, which specialize in calibrating and maintaining these systems. If you are looking to start your own ADAS sensor calibration center, Car ADAS is here to help. From training to equipment and support, we provide everything you need to set up and run a successful ADAS calibration center. Contact us today to learn more.

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