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April 25, 2019

Adaptive LED Headlights Confirmed to Improve Night-time Visibility and Safety

A study done by the American Automobile Association (AAA) has confirmed what car companies like Mazda already know: adaptive driving beam headlight technology (Adaptive LED Headlights in Mazda-speak) improves safety, especially when driving at night.

The research found that vehicles equipped with ALH increases roadway lighting by as much as 86 percent. Even when driving at moderate speeds such as 40 mph (64 km/h)—or the suggested speed on Manila’s roads—having ineffective headlights may result in motorists not having enough time to appropriately react to something or someone on the road.

While high beams do improve forward illumination by 28 percent, this can cause unwanted glare which could otherwise interfere with other drivers’ field of vision. Some vehicles are equipped with automatic high beam technology that automatically switches between high- and low beams, but the AAA says this is only effective only when other vehicles aren’t present. Once an oncoming or preceding vehicle is detected, the car will switch from high to low beams, thus losing the benefit from additional light.

However, with adaptive driving beam headlight technology, the high beams are always on and when another vehicle is detected, the area is shaded to prevent unwanted glare. In Mazda’s case, ALH uses a windscreen-mounted camera to detect other vehicles’ headlights and tail lamps. The system temporarily dims individual LED blocks to control the area illumination and avoid dazzling other drivers. Glare-free high-beams also provide the bright illumination and excellent visibility of traditional high-beams at all times, even when passing oncoming traffic.

“The AAA supports adaptive driving beam headlights,” said Jill Ingrassia, managing director of Government Relations &Traffic Safety Advocacy. “Adaptive driving beam headlights will not only improve roadway visibility but the safety of every driver and pedestrian who must travel at night.”

Mazda was recognized by the Japan Machinery Federation (JMF) for Adaptive LED Headlights or ALH. It is available on models such as the MX-5, CX-5, CX-9, and Mazda6.

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