There are a number of different adaptive headlight technologies, but they are all designed to improve the driver’s sight distance at night. Most adaptive headlight systems improve sight distance in corners, but some are also capable of adjusting in response to weather conditions, the presence of other vehicles, and other factors. Various new headlight technologies, including a number of systems similar to modern adaptive headlights, have been implemented throughout the entire history of the automobile, but a resurgence of interest in the technology has occurred in recent years.
Each adaptive headlight system works a little differently since they don’t all perform the exact same functions. Modern directional headlamps, for example, use sensor inputs to determine when the vehicle is turning. The headlights are then rotated with the turn, which illuminates the road in front of the vehicle. Traditional headlights tend to illuminate the side of the road when cornering or shine off the road entirely, which can lead to unsafe conditions.
Other adaptive headlight systems use sensors to determine when the brightness should be adjusted. This saves the driver from having to operate the high beams manually, which allows for a maximum sight distance at all times. Some of these systems can determine how far away other vehicles are and adjust the brightness of the headlamps so that light reaches them without creating glare.