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Tech Feature Friday: Mercedes-Benz C350 Adaptive High Beam Assist

Automatically switching headlights from high beam to low has never been so effortless and smooth.

By Douglas Newcomb Aug 3, 2012 11:05AM

Nercedes-Benz Adaptive High Beam AssistantHeadlights that automatically switch from low to high beams and back again, depending on traffic, are nothing new. General Motors’ Autronic Eye feature was introduced 60 years ago on Cadillac and Oldsmobile models, and it later spread to other GM cars. Appropriate to its name, and the times, it used a sci-fi-looking housing that sat on the dashboard like a large third eye to watch for oncoming cars and switch headlights to low beams to keep from blinding oncoming motorists.

Several other similar technologies came and went, but none worked well enough to become popular or prevalent. Mercedes-Benz has given automatic headlight switching another go with its Adaptive High Beam Assist. I’ve used it in several M-B vehicles, most recently in a 2012 C350, and find that it works well. In addition to the system sensing oncoming traffic, as well as a car in front in the same lane, without fail, I like that the transition from high beams to low beams is smooth, and done in a swift but rolling motion.

Even though switching from high beams to low is a relative no-brainer for the driver, we’ve all spaced out at some point and had another driver flash his brights at us as a reminder. Once Mercedes-Benz’s Adaptive High Beam Assist is activated, there’s nothing to remember. And, like all the best technology, the feature makes driving easier and safer.

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