New Maybach Headlights can Project Images on the Road
Last month, Mercedes showed off the latest version of the Maybach-branded S-Class. It’s more of a mild update than a true midcycle refresh, but with a new grille, more paint and leather options, and a few other tweaks, it should keep the chauffeured crowd happy. Today, however, Mercedes announced a new feature that will soon be available on Maybachs: image-projecting headlights.
Called Digital Light, the new headlights promise a high-definition main beam that projects with two-million-pixel resolution. Those beams can then project images onto the road. Mercedes says the images can be used like a head-up display, giving drivers information without requiring them to take their eyes off the road. The headlights could also be used to communicate with others.
The more practical reason to use software-controlled headlights is to optimize lighting depending on the situation. Cameras, sensors, and mapping data are used to evaluate road conditions, allowing the car to adjust its headlights accordingly. Theoretically, that would make it easier to see at night without blinding other drivers with obnoxiously bright lights.
Even when the new headlights are used to project images onto the road, Mercedes says the focus is more on safety than fashion. For example, guidelines could be projected onto the lane to make it easier to drive through a narrow construction zone. Or if the car detects a pedestrian in the road, it could mark their position with an arrow. Mercedes says the lights will also be able to project symbols that give blind spot warnings, lane departure warnings, collision warnings, speed notifications, and low-grip surface alerts.
If the initial roll-out goes well, we may see this technology trickle down to Mercedes’ other mainstream models. For now, though, Digital Light will only be available on the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class beginning in the first half of this year. There’s no word on pricing, but considering it won’t even be available on the regular S-Class at first, it’s probably safe to assume that Digital Light isn’t cheap.