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All-New Intelligent High-Beam Headlamp Control

Gentex introduces SmartBeamTM, an all-new, intelligent high-beam headlamp control system. SmartBeam automatically turns vehicle high beams on and off according to surrounding traffic conditions, substantially improving a driver's forward vision by maximizing the use of the vehicle's high-beam headlamps.

SmartBeam is integrated into a Gentex automatic-dimming rearview mirror and consists of:

A camera, or sensor, that acts like the human eye, detecting surrounding traffic/lighting conditions, and…

A computer, or microprocessor, that acts like the human brain, making decisions about the appropriate use of your high-beam headlamps.

The result is an intelligent, high-beam headlamp control system that greatly improves nighttime-driving safety. SmartBeam optimizes the use of a vehicle's headlamp system in order to provide the maximum amount of light possible for any driving scenario.

Tiny "Camera-On-A-Chip"
SmartBeam is the first of several potential Gentex automotive applications using a proprietary, semiconductor "camera-on-a-chip" image-sensing technology. The system uses a fully custom, forward-facing CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) image sensor to acquire images in front of the vehicle, which are then processed to determine the intensity, color, position and movement of various light sources.

If no other traffic is present, the system automatically activates your high beams. When it detects the headlamps of oncoming traffic, or the taillamps of preceding vehicles, SmartBeam automatically returns your headlamps to their normal, low-beam state.

Aesthetically Pleasing Modulation

To make the transition from low to high beams and back again less distracting and more aesthetically pleasing, Gentex has engineered SmartBeam to slowly fade the high beams on and off. However, if traffic suddenly appears, such as when cresting a hill or rounding a corner, the system will immediately turn off the high beams.

Low Beams Alone Not Sufficient

SmartBeam is a major breakthrough in nighttime driving safety because it maximizes the use of the vehicle's high beams. Recent developments in headlamp technology have focused on making low beams brighter. However, because low beams point downward and illuminate the road in front of the vehicle, they're not as effective as high beams at illuminating obstacles hundreds of feet in advance of the vehicle. High beams point outward, not downward, substantially improving the driver's ability to detect hazards at a greater distance.

In addition, it's easy to "out drive" your low beams. Even moderate speeds may be too fast to react to road hazards because your low beams won't illuminate them far enough in advance. Studies show that at 50 mph, a minimum total lamp intensity of 75,000 candela (cd) is needed to illuminate the driver's forward view in order to help ensure that the driver can see and react to potential hazards in the road ahead.

Drivers Are Hesitant to Use Their High Beams

Drivers, for a number of reasons, hesitate to use their high beams. In fact, a U.S. Department of Transportation study found that high-beam headlamps are used less than 25% of the time in which driving conditions justify their use.

Why People Don't Use Their High Beams:
1. They forget
2. They fear forgetting to switch them off when oncoming traffic appears, potentially annoying or temporarily "blinding" other drivers
3. They're unable to switch them off fast enough
4. Complacency

SmartBeam prevents these problems and ensures optimal use of a vehicle's high beams. The system maximizes forward vision by automatically turning on the vehicle's high beams when no other vehicle traffic is present, and reverting them back to their low-beam intensity when detecting either the headlamps of oncoming traffic or the taillamps of preceding vehicles.

Problems with Previous Systems

For years, the automotive industry has searched for lighting solutions that maximize forward vision without producing oncoming glare. Previous "automatic" high-beam controls systems abruptly changed from high to low beams and did not work well due to nuisance switching from non-vehicle light sources. They were also unable to effectively see preceding vehicle taillamps, and could not distinguish many types of light sources within an adequate time period.

SmartBeam solves the issues with previous systems and has performed well in demonstration test drives.

Making Nighttime Driving Safer

Gentex automatic-dimming rearview mirrors make nighttime driving safer by detecting glare and automatically dimming to preserve driver vision. Now were making driving even safer with yet another active, crash-avoidance safety feature.

To put SmartBeam to work for you, contact your Gentex sales or engineering representative.

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