With their digital matrix LED headlights, Audi presents a worldwide first in a production vehicle, specifically their e-Tron Sportback.
Audi’s DMD headlamps are based on a small chip containing a million micromirrors, each of which measures just a few tens of micrometres on an edge. With the help of electrostatic fields, each individual micromirror can be tilted up to 5,000 times per second. Depending on the setting, the LED light is either directed via the lenses onto the road or is absorbed within the headlamp, to mask out areas of the light beam.
In the Audi e-tron Sportback, the digital light performs multiple tasks. It can generate dynamic leaving and coming-home animations that appear as projections on a wall or on the ground. This presentation transforms the area in front of the car into a carefully illuminated stage. Not only does the digital light system deliver cornering, city, and highway lighting as versions of the low-beam light with exceptional precision, it also supplements the high beam by masking out other road users with even greater accuracy.
It also offers innovative functions such as lane light and orientation light. On freeways, the lane light creates a carpet of light that illuminates the driver’s own lane brightly and adjusts dynamically when they change lane. This improves the driver’s awareness of the relevant lane and contributes to improved road safety. The orientation light uses darkened areas masked out from the light beam to predictively show the vehicle’s position in the lane, thereby supporting—especially on narrow roads or in highway construction zones—the safe lane centre assist.
The marking light function is also used in conjunction with the optional night vision assist. The light automatically draws attention to any pedestrians it detects, thereby reducing the danger of overlooking pedestrians in the immediate vicinity of the lane.
Audi have posted a video on Instagram showing highly relevant projection messages from the Audi e-tron DMD headlamps, and another on YouTube giving a different demonstration of the DMD lamps.