Don’t Speak; Just Let Your New Merc’s Headlights Do All The Talking

Mercedes-Benz‘s headlights have become so advanced that they can literally communicate with people. And no, we’re not joking.

Dubbed Digital Light and displayed in the video below on a Maybach S-Class, the headlight technology is able to project words onto the road ahead, displaying all kinds of messages.

To promote the technology, Mercedes-Benz parked an S-Class and had it display compliments to unsuspecting bystanders. While the video itself is clearly set up, it is remarkable to see how far headlights have come.

The Digital Light system works thanks to projecting LED lights outfitted with a chip that incorporates more than one million micro-reflectors that are able to project light in patterns. In short, the lights are able to easily form letters and illustrations.

Of course, Digital Light has a plethora of safety benefits. For example, it can work alongside a vehicle’s cameras and sensors to project lanes, arrows, and symbols across the road. Additionally, it can process what’s happening ahead, including construction site warnings.

Member of the board of management of Daimler AG, Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, Ola Källenius, said the technology is just the latest addition to its fleet of safety systems.

“With a resolution of over one million pixels per headlamp, Digital Light not only creates ideal light conditions for every driving situation; it also extends the visual support from our driving assistance systems.”

P.S. Can’t help but wonder how long before the first lawsuit against someone offending another person with their headlight-projected message. Hey, lawyers gotta make a living, too, you know…


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  • brn

    This would be great for watching movies while you drive at night!

  • Merc1

    The refresh with the new grille looks amazing.


  • ace_9

    Just what we need. Even brighter headlights blinding drivers in the opposite lane… Because no system is good enough at detecting cars under all circumstances. The reality now is that people in 50+ k€ cars are blinding other less fortunate ones (who are also blinding themselves with their severely misadjusted headlights).

    • TheBelltower

      Really? I have no issue with expensive cars blinding me. It’s the cheap beaters with aftermarket bulbs driven by landscapers that are the issue in my area.

      • ace_9

        I don’t know, I’m driving on a highway very often, so there are more better and newer cars, then on other roads, so I might be biased, but luxury SUVs with lights quite high from the ground, like X5, GLE, Q5, Q7 often seem very bright. Especially when coming from the opposite direction and there is a barrier in the middle which is not high enough to cover the lights. And I also often see expensive cars with misadjusted headlights. Yes, they are mostly 5+ year old cars, but still. I just saw a second generation CLS with only one working light shining directly to the people’s eyes two days ago. Many times I can see that some car is really bright and later it is dimmed, so the technology works, but on real roads, it is not always the case. Especially on curved and hilly highways with middle barrier constantly changing height, shape and transparency (e.g. when it goes from solid wall to just bushes). But I agree with you that old cars are problematic much more often. I just see more new and higher-end cars and the light systems are not working as advertised. That’s why I don’t believe that in a few years, people won’t be blinded by laser lights.

    • kenny sauray

      These cars use smart headlights technology to prevent blinding oncoming drivers. So I don’t think you need to worry about that

      • ace_9

        I know, I’m just saying that there is no magical technology that knows where not to shine full beam in all situations.

    • Mike anonymous

      But think of All the possibilities…

      …. All of the wonderful possibilities.

      In all seriousness though, I seems as though Mercedes is using this as kind of a gimmick (and I am sure they were not the very first to come up with this), BUT the idea is absolutely something I could see being used in medial emergency vehicles or autonomous vehicles for safety reasons. This could even be used to help drivers at night (going beyond just putting text on the road), possibly for use in avoiding smaller animals, holes in the road, dips (or when going over short, sharp hills), and things of that nature. So although it seems super Gimmicky, there could be some real, and useful, applications for this idea/vehicle feature.

  • Craig

    Yet another useless gimmick.

    • Avery Holder

      If it works as described I wouldn’t call it useless.

    • kenny sauray

      Useless gimmick? Mercedes always 4 to 5 years ahead of the rest, it used to be 15 years. The 2013 S-class is still the industry standard; Think about that for a minute!

  • fabri99

    Something like “get out of my way, you f*ckface” would be more useful in the real world.

  • Honda NSX-R

    I’m just waiting for people to make memes on these

  • Mr. EP9

    I can definitely see the potential for this being abused.

    • Perry F. Bruns

      We can only hope. 😉

      • kenny sauray

        It would be fun


  • TrevP

    I love this

  • RDS Alphard

    Road-rage in the future will be a whole lot more interesting.

  • kenny sauray

    I would have tons of fun with that. Too bad you probably wouldn’t be able to type whatever you want. Love that Mercedes is pushing the boundaries though

  • Shobin Drogan

    I hope Mercedes could be smart enough to include a selection of preset sentences instead of letting people type what they want to say while they’re driving. Facebook and Instagram is bad enough to get people distracted while driving.

  • ace_9

    Well, you cannot be sure unless you are the one being in the other drivers place. I’m not saying the technology does not work. It just does not work reliably under all circumstances and when it breaks after several years than it’s even worse.

  • OD. LP

    We think we hate pop-ups now, just wait until advertisers to take advantage of this and fully use them to their potential – though this will take some time to become mainstream for those below the 1% who’ll be able to afford this feature. (Probably will cost between $3k-$6k…it not more).

    But gotta say, it’s a pretty sweet idea for Merc to come up with, can’t wait to see it in real life versus a photo rendering.

  • An Existing Person

    This could actually make road rage pretty fun.

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