•  Active light system monitors for other cars
  •  Dims lights when other drivers are approaching
  •  Could find its way into US Volvos

A new Volvo feature will improve night driving for Volvo drivers and those in other cars. The feature, dubbed Active High Beam Control, can dim headlights to avoid shining them in another driver's eyes.

According to Volvo, Active High Beam Control uses a camera located in front of the interior rearview mirror to detect other cars at night. The camera is programmed to spot cars in oncoming traffic or driving slowly in the same direction.

When the camera spots another car, it sends the Active High Beam Control headlight into action. Using several small pieces of metal within the headlight projector, Active High Beam Control can change the headlight's direction as needed. For example, if the camera detects an oncoming car, Active High Beam Control shines the headlight beam away from that car, sending it elsewhere instead.

With Active High Beam Control, other drivers won't be blinded by the Volvo's lights. It also means Volvo drivers won't need to worry about constantly turning their high beams on and off. That's because Active High Beam Control will do the job for them.

Volvo says the system will operate at speeds above nine miles per hour. It also says the system will work with motorcycles. And for those who doubt its accuracy, Volvo claims Active High Beam Control can correctly estimate the size of other cars to within 1.5 inches.

While the system will be rolled out as an option on the 2014 S60 and XC60, its future in the US is less certain. Current federal regulations say there must be distinct low beam and high beam settings. And most states require drivers to turn off high beams when another vehicle is approaching.

That means Volvo could be in shaky legal ground if it tried to offer the system in the States. However, several other automakers are currently developing similar systems. And since its main goal is to improve safety, we wouldn't be surprised to see Active High Beam Control come our way in the next few years.

What it means to you: The Volvo Active High Beam Control system will help make the roads safer for drivers and other road users.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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