In the not too distant future, U.S. automakers may be given the opportunity to incorporate adaptive-driving-beam headlights into new vehicles they sell that provide an advancement from the automatic high beam technology available today, according to a report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The push for change to a current Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for headlights (FMVSS 108) comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In October, after a petition from Toyota to amend the safety standard for lighting, NHTSA proposed modifying FMVSS 108 to set performance standards and compliance tests for adaptive-driving-beam headlights.
Presently, federal rules require distinct high- and low-beam patterns. Therefore, FMVSS 108 prohibits adaptive-driving-beams because they dynamically adjust. Specifically, rather than switching the high beams on and off, they continuously adjust the high-beam pattern to create a shadow around other vehicles, based on input from a forward-looking camera.
The IIHS encourages rulemaking that allows for more advanced headlights, noting that adaptive-driving-beams provide high-beam visibility without the hazardous glare for oncoming drivers. Moreover, adaptive-driving-beams are currently used in Europe and Japan.
In the event FMVSS 108 is amended, manufacturers who already offer adaptive-driving-beam headlights on vehicles sold in other countries would be required to modify their systems for the U.S. market to meet NHTSA's test criteria.