Lexus is a pioneer in automotive lighting technology. We were the first manufacturer to introduce LED headlights (2007 Lexus LS 600h) and the first to produce adaptive high-beam headlights (2012 Lexus LS).
Both systems delivered significant improvements in night-time visibility and therefore road safety, as well as reducing any stress experienced by the driver.
Learn more: Innovations of the fourth-generation Lexus LS
These qualities are further enhanced with the imminent arrival of the revised Lexus RX 450h, which introduces the next generation of world-first Lexus headlight technology – BladeScan adaptive high-beam light distribution.
How does this new technology work? And in what ways is BladeScan more effective than existing adaptive lighting technologies?
The existing Lexus adaptive high-beam system consists of an array of LEDs arranged in two levels on each side of the vehicle: eight units at the top and 16 units at the bottom.
The area of high-beam illumination in front of the car is then altered in real-time by controlling the light emitted by each diode so that drivers of approaching vehicles are not blinded. Such an array has a controllable area of illumination that is typically accurate to within 1.7 degrees.
BladeScan technology, however, delivers more precise photometric control of the area of illumination in front of the car, being accurate to within 0.7 degrees. It also offers a broader distribution of light to brighten areas that would not normally be illuminated with a conventional high-beam system.
While rival systems have substantially increased the number of LEDs to improve headlight resolution, the new Lexus technology relies on a more cost-effective array of LEDs on each side of the car – ten in the case of the RX. And everything is contained within a compact module (see above) located within the inner corner of each RX headlight, alongside the familiar triple-eye units.
Rather than shining light forwards, the LEDs within each BladeScan module cast their light diagonally across two blade-shaped mirrors rotating at high speed. The precise synchronisation of the mirror rotation together with the switching on and off of each LED controls the shading effect. The adapted, non-blinding light is then reflected into a lens, which irradiates the beam onto the road ahead.
Using this new technology, Lexus engineers say that RX drivers will enjoy an expanded and more natural spread of light. They should also be able to identify pedestrians near the shoulder of the road at night from a distance of up to 56 metres (compared to 32 metres with previous lighting systems).
The new RX and seven-seat RX L are due to go on sale in the autumn. Prices and full specifications of the UK range, including availability of BladeScan, will be announced nearer the on-sale date.