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October 15, 2020

Audi offers first production animated Digital Matrix LED headlights

Volkswagen Group's Audi is now offering Digital Matrix LED (DML) headlights as optional equipment on its 2021 e-tron and e-tron Sportback models.

By Olly Wehring

Volkswagen Group’s Audi is now offering Digital Matrix LED (DML) headlights as optional equipment on its 2021 e-tron and e-tron Sportback models.

This is the first time DML headlights have been mass produced for a production vehicle, the automaker claimed.

Comprised of 1.3m micromirrors per headlight, DML headlights essentially operate like movie projectors, emitting tiny unique particles or adaptable light.

At launch, this lighting technology offers a selection of five different welcome/leaving animations when the vehicle is parked, each with unique motion graphics and text selected through the MMI touchscreen display.

Beyond the welcome/leaving animations currently available for vehicles in some markets, the full feature set of DML headlights includes:

  • A 50-metre ‘light carpet’ that is designed to keep light within the driver’s lane and extends the carpet left or right when changing lanes and helps to avoid a ‘blinding’ effect for oncoming traffic
  • Low beam curved lighting that bends below oncoming traffic and can help illuminate people or objects on the side of the road which are otherwise difficult to detect
  • Electrostatically controlled micromirrors that can adjust light beam pixels up to 5,000 times per second
  • On ground light arrows that place the vehicle tyres within its lane

Although the total functionality of Digital Matrix LED headlights is not yet fully available for some markets, such as the US [where regulators have long had rather individual ideas on headlights, to the auto industry’s frustration – ed], Audi continues to work with government officials and authorities in an effort to do so for US consumers.

See the full functionality of the European-specification DML headlights in various conditions here.

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