According to Mercedes-Benz, the high-definition Digital Light system will be so advanced that, in theory, you could watch a movie using just the lighting system as a projector against your garage wall.
Ola Kallenius, member of the board of management of Daimler AG, group research and Mercedes-Benz Cars development, said at CES 2017 that the Digital Light system illuminates (geddit?) the importance of lighting as a safety technology in cars.
“Lighting is becoming one of the most sophisticated tools for the vehicle to also capture what’s going on and make the drive safer.
“We’re introducing a new technology in the next couple of years called Digital Light. Every light unit – so, in the front, the two headlights – will have one million small mirrors, pixels, that can more or less create any type of light spectrum in a very large distance, that you can think of,” Kallenius said.
“It could light something up, and individually decide to not light the face of a pedestrian walking down the sidewalk at night – but everything else is lit. So you’re not flashed by the car, but everything else around you is lit,” he said.
“You could of course put a Mercedes-Benz star on the road, or put a zebra crossing to illustrate to pedestrians that it’s safe to walk, or greet your neighbours. Or if your TV is broken, you could actually use it as a projector in your garage to watch a movie.
“This is another example of where Mercedes-Benz is taking the lead using technology to make the whole transportation system safer and more intelligent,” he said.
The system works using algorithms based on detailed information on the surroundings of the car and “calculate in real time the brightness value for each one of over two million pixels”.
“This dynamism and precision gives this intelligent system well-nigh countless possibilities to provide ideal, high-resolution light distribution which suits the surrounding conditions perfectly.”
For instance, the system could take its cues from the satellite navigation system and project the next instruction directly on to the road surface. Or, if there are road works, it could guide the driver to their best pathway through the area. The system could even warn the driver if the road is icy, by showing a snowflake on the road.
Forget head-up displays, then? We’ll see… Clearly the tech is slated for a rollout in the S-Class at some point.
MORE: CES 2017 coverage