volkswagen headlights
New light shines on bikes

Volkswagen will soon release a radical new type of headlight that can highlight a bike ahead on a dark road by shining extra light on it.

The IQ lights use advanced in-car technology to identify bikes, pedestrians or animals on the road, and then respond by focusing light at the object.

Conversely, if a car is coming the other way at night, the lights can respond by shining less light into the eyes of the oncoming driver.

The trick is made possible by a new light emitter called a micro-pixel HD that can project up to 30,000 beams of light.

The adaptive headlight can shape the beams and alter their output to highlight, or lowlight, objects on the road.

But that’s not all, the lights can also act as a virtual projector, casting lines, shapes and symbols on to the road ahead.

For example, if the driver was turning left, the lights could project an arrow on the road ahead to indicate the change in direction.

The lights can do away with full-beam and low-beam settings, as the vehicle will detect oncoming traffic and block out the beam from shining in the eyes of the oncoming driver.

Klaus Bischoff, VW Designer-in-Chief, said: "The lighting of the future will become a means of communication."

"It will interact with the driver and with other road users - whether in a car, on a motorcycle or bicycle or as a pedestrian on the road - measurably improving safety.”

While much media focus is on autonomous vehicles, there are many innovations coming to driven motor vehicles that will help drivers with the complex task of driving more safely around other road users.

The micro-pixel technology has been developed with funding from the German government.