Opel is currently the first car maker to road-test a fully integrated matrix light in prototypes. The matrix light embodies a new philosophy in lighting technology. Rather than using the low beam as the default setting, the high beam is always the standard mode in the new matrix lighting concept. By taking this new approach, the high beam is always kept glare free and is automatically adapted according to the traffic situation. In that sense the matrix light assists the driver in an intelligent way, giving him a stress free driving experience, while maintaining the highest possible level of safety. The light is adjusted more rapidly to the current traffic situation than any solution which relies on the driver or is based on mechanically moved elements.
“Active safety is a focal point of the engineering strategy at Opel, says Opel’s Vice President of Engineering, Rita Forst. We were the first automakers to bring AFL – the combination of dynamic xenon curve light and static cornering light – to the market back in 2002. Opel is now set to revolutionize night-time driving again with the intelligent matrix light, the most advanced automotive lighting system in the world.”
The matrix light works in combination with the Opel front camera which is located between the windshield and the rear-view mirror. As soon as the sensors of the front camera detect light sources from oncoming or proceeding traffic, that area is completely dimmed, while the rest of the road remains brightly illuminated.
This ensures that while other road users are never dazzled, other non-illuminated obstacles are always made visible.
The exclusive use of LED elements inside the matrix light, has a series of significant benefits since the new light system is more energy efficient than conventional HID and halogen lamps. It only uses around half the energy consumed by halogen lamps. Each of the two matrix headlamps consists of four light segments. Behind each segment, there are four separate light sources that can be switched on or off individually, producing sixteen possible AFL combinations per headlamp. The changes between the 256 different possible light settings are smooth and fluid, without the driver even noticing.
So far only the day running lights were able to replicate Opel’s signature arrow shape. However, now the low beam when used at night can also do this. This was done by combining the two functions: the day time running lights and the low beam now share the row of seven light elements. The solution gives the vehicle designers more freedom to create new car designs.
The new matrix light concept will be gradually rolled out across Opel’s car lines in the next few years, as was the case in 2002 when Opel became the first car maker to bring the safety lighting system AFL to market. The most up-to-date AFL system (AFL+) includes bi xenon gas discharge lamps, adverse weather light, dynamic curve light and static cornering light, high beam light assistant and LED daytime running lights.