How Adaptive Headlight Technology Works

By Product Expert | Posted in Technology on Monday, August 31st, 2020 at 5:37 pm
A heavily-lit highway at night

What are Adaptive Headlights and How Do They Work?

When car shoppers search for a new vehicle, they may notice adaptive headlights included in a list of available driver assistance features. But what are adaptive headlights, and how do they work? To help drivers understand this awareness-enhancing technology, we’ve put together a comprehensive primer on this feature down below. 


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As their name suggests, adaptive headlights are headlights that are designed to dynamically respond to the environment around them. This term is most commonly used in reference to curve-adaptive headlights, which pivot when a vehicle is turning to provide a better view of the road ahead.

However, adaptive headlights can also refer to headlights that have an automatic high beam control system. When active, these headlights can automatically switch between low beams and high beams depending on the presence of surrounding traffic.

A rural road leading into a town at night

How Do Adaptive Headlights Work?


Different vehicle manufacturers have come up with different solutions to make their adaptive headlights function as intended. There are typically two types of curve-adaptive headlight systems: Steering wheel-based and sensor-based.

Steering wheel systems recognize that the driver is turning the wheel left or right and change the direction of the headlights to match. Sensor-based systems, on the other hand, detect curvatures in the road ahead and changes in vehicle direction to shift the placement of the headlight beam.

No matter what type of adaptive headlight system a vehicle uses, drivers should find their nighttime trips less daunting due to the additional visibility. Adaptive headlight technology is becoming more common with each model year, and is often included in driver assistance feature suites.

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