Volvo Makes Night Driving Safer With Automated High Beams

Volvo Makes Night Driving Safer With Automated High Beams

The brand’s new feature will allow for continuous use without ‘blinding’ other drivers.

Ryan Gerhardt
  • 7 march 2013

Tell us if this sounds familiar.

You’re driving along at night, notice another vehicle approaching you, and switch your high beams off so as not to impair the other driver’s vision. You then switch them back on after passing and notice debris, and animal, or even a person on the side of the road, and have to quickly swerve to avoid collision. You couldn’t properly see the shoulder without your high beams.

Or, there’s a car coming towards you, or driving behind you, who has neglected to turn off their own high beams and you find yourself struggling to see through the blinding light.

Both instances can be extremely dangerous, but how can these nighttime ‘operator errors’ be fixed? Leave it up to arguably the world’s safest car company to figure it out.


Volvo is introducing its new Active High Beam Control system at this month’s Geneva Motor Show in an attempt to make driving in the dark safer and easier. Set to be available on the new Volvo S60, V60, and XC60, the Active High Beam Control system ‘makes it possible to use high beam continuously,’ while helping users avoid blinding fellow drivers with light.


By utilizing the car’s existing rear-view camera, which currently operates the Volvo detection and auto brake systems, the Active High Beam Control system is able to monitor for other vehicles. The control unit can then send the information to a mechanical cylinder in the headlight, which uses different sized metal pieces to shade only the necessary portions of the beam. The system, which is accurate enough to shield selected areas within a 1.5-degree margin, can then maintain high beam use to help the driver navigate.


The feature also works for motorcycles, and slow moving vehicles.

Lotta Jakobsson, Senior Technical Specialist Safety at Volvo Cars Safety Centre, says:

Our aim with the renewed Active High Beam Control technology is to enhance visibility in the dark by making it possible to use high beam permanently, without having to switch to low beam when meeting or catching up with other cars…The technology makes driving at night more comfortable and safe. It also makes it easier to focus on the driving.

Continuous high beam use has the incomparable advantage of improving a driver’s chances of detecting objects on the roadside, making for safer driving conditions and fewer accidents.

The Geneva Motor Show is running from March 5-17. Volvo is also set to unveil a new collision-avoiding technology at the auto show, furthering their reputation for safety.

Check out the video below to see the system in action:


Images via Volvo


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