Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive

Intelligent Light System

The optionally available Intelligent Light System is an adaptive headlamp system which adapts automatically to the prevailing weather, light and driving conditions. In problematic weather conditions, at dusk and during night-time driving it provides for added light and enhanced safety.

The Intelligent Light System incorporates variable headlamps with five functions: country mode, a two-stage motorway mode (both coupled with bi-xenon headlamps), enhanced fog light function, cornering lights and curve illumination.

Headlamps that adapt to driving conditions.



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    In mid-2006, Mercedes-Benz premiered a world-first in automotive lighting on board the E-Class: the Intelligent Light System.

    Its five different light functions tailored to typical driving and weather situations offer drivers a marked improvement in vision and visibility – a crucial factor in helping to avoid accidents and reducing the high risk of accidents in night-time driving. The Intelligent Light System operates in combination with the optional bi-xenon headlamps, its five functions defining the state of the art in illumination engineering.

    Technology: pivoting drums in the bi-xenon modules
    Two horizontally pivoting bi-xenon modules in the headlamp housings on the E-Class form the core of the Intelligent Light System. As previously, these modules apply the projector beam principle whereby the light is focused by lens optics. The new adaptive headlamps require the light to be directed with high precision, however, in order to achieve the different light distribution variants. For this purpose, the headlamps on the E-Class are provided with a drum which can be rotated to influence the course of the light. The different light functions can be controlled by means of precisely calculated and programmed drum positions – for left-hand traffic, too.


    The following five light functions are available:

    - Country mode replaces dipped-beam mode, offering brighter and more extensive illumination of the carriageway

    - Motorway mode offers up to 60% more visibility in two stages

    - The enhanced fog light function supports the fog lights in their primary task of dispersing light over a wide area and distributing it with a special emphasis on the edge of the lane

    - The enhanced fog light function is activated automatically as soon as the rear fog lamp is switched on, provided that the vehicle speed is not above 70 km/h

    - At speeds above 100 km/h the enhanced fog light function goes off again automatically


    The cornering light function was premiered on the Mercedes models of the C-, CLS- and SLK-Class in 2004. In the E-Class it has formed part of the light functions of the Intelligent Light System since mid-2006, enhancing safety at crossings and in tight bends through interaction of the bi-xenon headlamps with the fog lights in the bumper. When the headlamps are on, the cornering light function is activated automatically when the driver indicates or turns the steering wheel at speeds of under 40 km/h.

    Low-beam and fog lights then illuminate the area at the side in front of the vehicle over a distance of around 30 m at an angle of up to 65°. The cornering light function is also active during slow cornering at speeds of up to 40 km/h, providing the driver with a clearer view of the course of the road.

    Curve illumination, which Mercedes-Benz offered in the E-Class for the first time in 2003, improves illumination of the carriageway in bends by up to 90%. To put it another way: with curve illumination, in a long bend with a radius of 190 m the driver is able to see 25 m further than with conventional dipped-beam headlamps. Curve illumination operates both in low- and high-beam headlamp mode. The electronic control unit of the curve illumination system is integrated in the data network on board the E-Class, ensuring a continuous input of information on steering angle, yaw rate and vehicle speed. This enables the bi-xenon modules to follow the driver's steering and pan to the side in a matter of seconds when he steers into a bend. Mercedes-Benz further enhanced the curve illumination technology in 2006, introducing headlamps which pivot to the side by up to 15°. This is 3° more than previously, providing for even better illumination of tight bends.


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