Cooperative vehicle environment communication, DIGITAL LIGHT

May 20, 2019




Cooperative behaviour and communication with other road users: the ESF 2019 communicates its behaviour and shares its knowledge of impending hazards, ensuring more safety for all road users.

In detail

·         Gap for vehicles cutting in: The front panel gives light signals to the front when the ESF 2019 recognises the intention of a vehicle ahead and to the side to cut in, and slows down to let the vehicle in e.g. on a slip road or where traffic is merging.

·         Emergency lane: When in a tailback, the ESF 2019 drives on the edge of its lane to leave an emergency lane for response vehicles. It "explains" this behaviour to its surroundings via the rear window and front panel, setting an example to others.

·         Warning of wrong-way drivers: Via its backend server, the ESF 2019 is kept constantly informed of possible hazards on the route ahead. In the event of a wrong-way driver, it indicates on the right side and stays far over to the right (in right-hand traffic). An animation on the rear window passes this information on to vehicles in the vicinity.

·         Tailback warning: When the sensors or backend of the ESF 2019 inform it that it is approaching the end of a tailback, it passes this knowledge on to following traffic with a projection on the rear window. The hazard warning system is activated at the same time.

·         Local hazard reports: Other warnings, e.g. of icy surfaces, roadworks or other hazards, are projected onto the rear window as icons.


What accident research says

In 2017 22 people lost their lives on German motorways and motorway-like highways owing to wrong-way drivers[4]. This number could possibly be reduced by a corresponding warning on the rear window.


The comprehensive sensor system of the ESF 2019 allows it to recognise other road users and their direction of movement. At the same time, thanks to its permanent networking with the backend, the ESF 2019 is aware of possible hazards on the route ahead at all times.

City: warning of pedestrians and cyclists


The sensor system of the parked ESF 2019 being charged at a charging station also remains alert when it is stationary, and can recognise possible accident risks in its immediate surroundings. If there is a risk of other road users colliding with each other, the ESF 2019 makes them aware and warns them if necessary. In the urban environment this can particularly benefit unprotected road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

In detail

·         For example, if a pedestrian enters the gap between the ESF 2019 and other parked vehicles, the white, pulsating light in the roof unit directs the attention of passing traffic to him/her. At the same time it prompts the pedestrian to pay attention to the traffic flow.

·         If there is an immediate danger because the pedestrian is approaching the carriageway, the ESF 2019 gives warnings to prevent an accident as far as possible: a pulsating red LED band plus PRE-SAFE® side lights plus the front panel and headlamps focus on the pedestrian. He/she is also given an audible warning.

·         Similar action is taken for cyclists, who are often obscured by parked vehicles and easily overlooked when turning off. If the parked ESF 2019 recognises such a risk at a junction or entrance, it uses its communicative capabilities to attract attention and warn both parties if necessary.


The extensive sensor system of the ESF 2019 enables it to recognise other road users and their intentions.

City: interaction with pedestrians


E.g. at pedestrian crossings and when turning off, the ESF 2019 stops for pedestrians and indicates that it has seen them. It signals that it will wait until the pedestrian has crossed the road.

In detail

·         The car uses slowly pulsating, turquoise LEDs on the front sensor housings to show that it has seen the pedestrian, and then stops.

·         An animated gesture appears in the front panel to signal that the ESF 2019 will allow the pedestrian to cross the road. The LEDs on the sensor housings "follow" the crossing pedestrian like the eyes of an attentive driver. In this way they signal that the vehicle remains aware of the pedestrian and will not move off until the road is clear.

·         Finally the LEDs on the roof flash in the direction of the pedestrians who have left the road. Only then does it move off again.

·         The reason for stopping is "explained" to following traffic by a clearly understandable symbol on the rear window. While the pedestrian is crossing the road, the image of a pedestrian is projected onto the rear window so that following traffic understands the situation and does not overtake.


The extensive sensor system of the ESF 2019 enables it to recognise other road users and their possible intentions.



With the innovative software-controlled DIGITAL LIGHT technology, symbols can also be projected onto the road in HD quality. It not only gives the driver information in the direct field of vision, but also allows communication with the surroundings.

Overview of functions:[5]

·         Guiding lines: When driving through a construction site, two trails of light corresponding to the entire width of the car are projected onto the driver's own lane. These guide lines help the driver with orientation.

·         Extended pedestrian marking: If a pedestrian is detected in the danger zone near the road, an arrow pointing in that direction appears on the road surface. This is in addition to the mark already made by the Adaptive Highbeam Assist.

·         Distance marking: This function supports the driver in setting the standard proximity appropriate for certain situations. When the proximity cruise control DISTRONIC PLUS is activated, or the driver changes the set safety distance, a corresponding distance marking is projected onto the road surface.

In detail

In the headlamp there are chips with over a million micro-reflectors, i.e. a total of over two million per vehicle. The cameras and sensor systems in the vehicle detect other road users, powerful computers evaluate the data plus digital navigation maps in milliseconds and give the headlamps the commands for optimally adapting the light distribution in all situations.


Additional function

With practically dazzle-free high beam in HD quality and a resolution of more than two million pixels, DIGITAL LIGHT has even greater precision than MULTIBEAM LED headlamps. The risk of dazzling other road users is reduced to a minimum.


Camera and sensor systems, navigation data

[4] Source: Federal Statistical Office.

[5] New technologies must always meet the legal requirements of the different markets, and must therefore be adapted accordingly. We are currently examining the approval situation in this respect.