Let there be light
BMWs Adaptive Headlight sees further around corners at night. But its not as new as it seems.
Nobody can deny that BMWs K 1600 GT/GTL über-tourer is feature-packed. And one interesting option is Adaptive Headlight technology, which changes the aim of the light beam as you corner, offering a better view.
This is BMWs depiction of what it does:
You can see a video here.
This sort of technology has been around in cars for yonks, of course, measuring speed, yaw and steering angle to then swivel the lamps left or right. But motorcycles are a tougher application because of lean angles.
The BMW Press Release talks up how clever it all is but it comes down to using the K 1600s standard front and rear ride height sensors together with lean-angle info from the same sensor box used on the tech-tastic S 1000 RR. This information is then used to tilt the headlamp mirror and balance the low beam, shining more light further into the corner.
BMW claim its the first motorcycle to offer an adaptive xenon headlight. Which may well be, but youll notice that leaves free the possibility of an earlier non-xenon version. If anyone can advise of a bike that beat BMW to the punch, do let us know.
One things for sure, the idea goes way back on four wheels. Not, in this instance, to a previous generation S-Class Mercedes. (It has been said, if you want to know what your car will offer in ten years time look at todays S-Class). No, it goes back to the the 1940s and the American Tucker sedan, which had a middle headlamp directly connected to the steering linkage. A slightly more sophisticated application was optional on the 1967 Citroen DS.
How good is BMWs new technology in practice? Well, a suitably equipped test bike isnt around at the moment but our request is in and well let you know when one comes up.