Porsche's 'next-generation' light tech uses 16,000 LEDs to turn night into day

The high-performance beams can reach up to 600 meters, says the company.
Loukia Papadopoulos
The new headlights are energy-saving.


Porsche has developed what it calls “the light technology of the next generation,” according to a statement by the firm published Friday. It consists of an accumulation of LEDs onto one platform.

“The core element of the innovation created in collaboration with partners is a chip that combines over 16,000 individually controllable micro-LEDs onto the surface area the size of a thumbnail,” wrote Hermann-Josef Stappen, Spokesperson of Research and Development and Technology Communications at Porsche.

“Of these LED chips, two are utilized for each headlight – four per vehicle. The headlights with HD matrix technology, therefore, offer a high-resolution light distribution up to twice as bright on a surface four times larger than previous top-notch systems.”

A homogeneous illumination system

The end result is extremely homogeneous illumination and high-performance high beams that turn night into day at a distance of up to 600 meters. The new invention is also energy-saving.

“Because the HD matrix headlights only activate the pixels that are actually needed at any given moment, they consume considerably less energy [than] other high-resolution systems, while the amount of light remains the same,” explained Stappen.

In addition, for the first time ever, the characteristic Porsche four-point headlight graphics of the daytime running lights can also be seen at night when the new system is used with both low and high beams. Porsche had to apply for over 25 patents to make the innovative technology a reality.

Porsche's 'next-generation' light tech uses 16,000 LEDs to turn night into day
The new Porsche headlight includes two of the new HD matrix modules.

Now, the firm plans to introduce the new HD matrix headlights successively in different model lines with identical module technology but adapted designs.

“The new technology must unite different, and sometimes contradictory, requirements in a single system,” noted Stappen.

As such, Porsche made use of pre-design simulations to analyze which overall system design would best meet all requirements including those of customers. This led the firm to choose the new and efficient HD matrix LED technology with 16,384 pixels per module rather than the maximum resolution that is technically feasible. 

“With a total of 32,768 individually controllable pixels per headlight, the HD matrix modules generate direct high-resolution light. Only the light that is actually required is generated. This is why it is known as active matrix light generation,” explained Stappen.

Over 14,000 lumens produced

The end result is an HD matrix light that illuminates the entire 40-degree horizontal and ten-degree vertical range with a luminous flux of over 1,400 lumens. This produces one of the largest and brightest high-resolution illumination areas that covers the entire high beam range and begins just in front of the vehicle. 

The driver controls how the light is distributed adjusting for the best possible visibility in any situation. This is just one of many innovations that Porsche has been investing in.

Two days ago, we reported that the firm had started using green hydrogen to power its vehicles in an attempt to be more sustainable. More notably, the firm had actually managed to produce its first electric car before the first world war.