Audi is adding sequential LED turn signal lights on its 2015 A8 models, but the technology is not likely to appear on U.S. cars because current regulations do not allow it, MotorAuthority writes. The A8s will also feature Matrix LED headlight technology, which allows a car’s high beams to be on all the time without blinding other drivers, writes Viknesh Vijayenthiran for MotorAuthority.
Until this development, turn signals have remained pretty much the same since they were first patented in 1938, writes Darren Quick for Gizmag. He goes on to say:
[…] Audi’s new dynamic indicators consist of an array of LEDs that could make turning a corner a slightly disco affair. Positioned under each front headlight there are 18 LEDs split into seven segments, while the taillights each contain 24 LEDs split into eight segments.
When the driver flicks the indicator on, the segments light up sequentially at 20 millisecond intervals in the direction of the turn — that is, from the inside out. After they are all lit, they remain at full intensity for 250 milliseconds, before going dark and repeating the sequence.
Because of these new turn signal lights, when other drivers see these new A8s, even from far away and in bad weather, they will be able to tell when an A8 driver is signaling to turn, Audi says. The 2015 Audi A8 range will be shown at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show, which starts on September 10, but there will be an online reveal on August 21, MotorAuthority notes. Audi and other automakers are petitioning the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to have the regulations changed that are preventing this technology on U.S. cars, MotorAuthority writes.
Lyndon Johnson writes for Technology Tell that sequential lights have been done before:
I’ve seen this kind of sequential turn signal lighting before, and you probably have, too, albeit probably not with LED turn signals. The Ford Mustang has at various points in its life (including recent model years) featured 1-2-3 turn signals, for instance. But those were far simpler arrangements than the LEDs Audi describes, and in the case of older vehicles with sequential signals (here’s looking at you, ’60s Ford Thunderbirds), they likely weren’t anywhere near as bright as the LEDs, either.
In a comment to the Gizmag piece, someone writing as “1173JDP” also says sequential turn signal lights are not a new idea. “Look at the 1967 Mercury Cougar as a less sophisticated example,” 1173JDP writes.