We already know the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is about as razzle-dazzle as they come for luxury transportation. The new headlights, however, will not dazzle other drivers, but that’s exactly what these digital eyes are designed to do. The new headlamp technology is called Digital Light, and though they are designed to deliver exceptional visibility without blinding oncoming traffic, they can “dazzle” Maybach drivers by projecting a set of specific alert pictures on the road in front.
How does it all work? Each light has a chip with over a million micro-reflectors, meaning more than two million reflectors are available. The lights are tied into the car’s various sensors and cameras as well as the navigation system, and they can automatically adjust depending on conditions and known location. That’s how the anti-dazzle part comes into play, as the car can detect oncoming traffic and dial down some of those two-million reflectors for maximum visibility without blinding other drivers.
The other part of the new Digital Light system is the series of symbols that can be projected onto the road in front of the car. Depending on which safety and driver-assist systems are engaged, the headlights will automatically project alerts onto the roadway. For example, solid guide lines marking boundaries of a narrow road – such as one might find in a construction zone – can appear to help guide the way. If the car detects pedestrians in a danger zone near the road, an arrow indicating their location will appear.
It can also display warnings for speed, drifting out of the lane, construction zones, objects in blind spots, distance to other traffic, and yes, a snowflake will even appear in low-grip situations. We have no idea if it would even show up on a snow-covered road, but hopefully by that point drivers already know it’s a bit slick and slow down.
The new Digital Light system is slated to arrive with “selected fleet customers” in the first half of 2018. However, there is a footnote at the end of the Mercedes-Maybach press release (link is below) that talks about the need for new technologies to comply with laws of various countries, and that it’s being reviewed for approval. Considering this system can display actual symbols on the road, there’s certainly an argument to be made for it being distracting to other drivers.