Adaptive Headlights

How does it work?

Adaptive headlights have a system or mechanism that allows them to adjust their direction and intensity in response to the driver's direction, to better track curves, turns, hills or focus potential hazards on the road.

Most of these technologies work by a headlight mechanism and a steering system interconnected with the help of links. In short, the real mechanism follows the movement dictated by the front wheels, and the headlights react to the angle of the steering wheel.

Graphic: adaptive headlights icon


  • Since most road accidents are caused by visibility problems such darkness on the road, they represent a great benefit in reducing collisions.
  • By pointing relative to the road and having an adjustable brightness, they help reduce glare that other drivers may experience on the road and increase the visibility of pedestrians.
  • Demonstrate great effectiveness on moderate- to high-speed roads in dark conditions, especially when cornering.


  • Currently, its presence in the market is mainly linked to luxury cars.
  • While adaptive headlights can significantly increase the driver’s range of visibility, this range still has limits. The system is not designed to alert drivers of nearby obstacles or potential road hazards.
  • Driving a vehicle equipped with adaptive headlights does not make driving at high speed on corners safer beyond providing better illumination. Drivers are urged to respect the speed limits indicated and reduce speed appropriately when cornering.
  • Does this technology and the others increase the chances of risk compensation (i.e., drivers feel safer driving vehicles equipped with this technology so they take greater risks such as speeding or tailgating)?

Common names

  • Active high beams
  • Adaptive high beam assist
  • Automatic high beams
  • Automatic high beam assistance
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Automatic high beam control
  • Automatic headlights
  • High beam assist
  • High beam control
  • High beam assistant
  • Intellibeam headlamps
  • Smart headlights
  • Light assistance
  • OEM 4 Dynamic Light System
  • Plus – High beam assistant

Latest Publications on PubMed

Search results for: adaptive headlights

  • GaN-based vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers with AlInN/GaN distributed Bragg reflectors
    by Tetsuya Takeuchi on July 18, 2018 at 10:00 am

    This paper describes the status and prospects of gallium nitride-based vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) with semiconductor-based distributed Bragg reflectors. These optoelectronic devices, which emit laser light from the violet to green region, are expected to be a superior light source for the next-generation of displays and illumination, such as retinal scanning displays and adaptive headlights. The development status and prospects are discussed in comparison with already...

  • On-road experiment to assess drivers' detection of roadside targets as a function of headlight system, target placement, and target reflectance
    by Ian J Reagan on January 21, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Adaptive headlights swivel with steering input to keep the beams on the roadway as drivers negotiate curves. To assess the effects of this feature on driver's visual performance, a field experiment was conducted at night on a rural, unlit, and unlined two-lane road during which 20 adult participant drivers searched a set of 60 targets. High- (n=30) and low- (n=30) reflectance targets were evenly distributed on straight road sections and on the inside or outside of curves. Participants completed...