Will We Ever See Audi’s Variable Matrix Headlights on the Road in the US
It is no secret that the federal government is capable of tripping over its own feet, especially when it comes to new technology.
In this case, it is the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, or NHTSA. Recently, Audi released what is known as Matrix headlights. These lights are different from what is currently utilized on American roads. These LED lights are capable of producing more precise lighting for drivers, and can utilize a mid-beam for roads without any sort of roadside lighting. And if Audi’s exhibitions at tech conferences like CES earlier this year are any indication, they are planning headlight technology that would sense oncoming cars and pedestrians with a camera and dim headlamps automatically. Cool!
All of this sounds great to just about everyone, except for NHTSA. Rather than just saying, “These seem to work great! Good on you!” Audi’s headlights are giving the engineers at the NHTSA fits.
The organization, which has entire departments dedicated to laws about headlights, simply doesn’t know how to classify the lighting technology. Due to this, Audi and other European vehicle manufacturers who have adapted their own similar systems, will keep their lights shining on European roads only.
This, of course, is not the first time the NHTSA has dragged its feet, and it surely won’t be the last. This does give you and others who are enrolled in an auto mechanic school (or considering it) a bit more time to learn the technology, but as this equipment is related to safety, the faster the government approves it the better.
Audi and other European companies are not the only car manufacturers who have had to produce and sell a vehicle in Europe before bringing it to the United States. Both Ford and GM routinely do this, as European roadways and governments are much more willing to work with new technologies than the United States government.
It is a shame it has to take so long for the government to approve such new technology, especially as there isn’t a driver on the road who hasn’t been blinded by a passing vehicle during the middle of the night or wish they had a more effective form of lighting while driving.
At an auto mechanic school you are going to learn exactly the differences behind the different forms of lighting technology and how to service the equipment. The more technologies you are capable of working with and have knowledge of, the more valuable you are to garages and the easier it is go obtain a job as you are seen as more valuable.
If history is any indication, this technology will eventually make its way to the United States. But for now, we wouldn’t hold your breath.