Developments to Watch
HIGH-BEAM HEADLAMPS THAT ARE EASY ON THE EYES
Ever drive around a curve on a dark country road, only to be blinded by oncoming high-beams? Or slow to a crawl in a dense fog? Never fear. A new headlight system using ultraviolet light could help drivers see their way clear of such hazards.
The system, from the Netherlands' Philips Lighting Co. and Sweden's Ultralux, uses headlamps that emit both regular, visible light and UV rays. The normal light illuminates the road a short distance ahead--just like always. The UV rays replace high-beams. Though invisible to humans, they're highly reflective. So if signs and road lines are treated with materials that reflect the rays and convert them to visible light, motorists can see faraway objects without blinding oncoming drivers. The lights should also work in bad weather--since UV rays cut through the fog, snow, and mist that can block high-beams.
Tests are under way in Sweden. A product timetable isn't available. But Ultralux is partly owned by Saab and Volvo, so it's easy to guess where the headlights might appear first.EDITED BY ROBERT BUDERI