A headlamp is a lamp attached to the front of a vehicle to illuminate the road ahead. Headlamps are also often called headlights, but in the most precise usage, headlamp is the term for the device itself and headlight is the term for the beam of light produced and distributed by the device.
Headlamp performance has steadily improved throughout the automobile age, spurred by the great disparity between daytime and nighttime traffic fatalities: the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that nearly half of all traffic-related fatalities occur in the dark, despite only 25% of traffic travelling during darkness.
Other vehicles, such as trains and aircraft, are required to have headlamps. Bicycle headlamps are often used on bicycles, and are required in some jurisdictions. They can be powered by a battery or a small generator like a bottle or hub dynamo.
Following are the three different types of axles
- Standard Headlights
- Projector Beam Headlights
- Halo Headlights
- HID Headlights
- LED Headlights
- Laser Headlights
Standard headlights have been in play since the first automobiles rolled out of their production line into some monocled aristocrats garage over 100 years ago. Standard headlights feature a forward facing bulb in a reflective box or case. Early models that continued through the late 20th century were incandescent, featuring similar build to home light bulbs. These incandescent bulbs wore hot, didn’t last long and cast a sticky, muted light which wasn’t especially useful. Halogen bulbs improved the technology by using halogen gas instead of a filament. This provided a much more uniform forward-facing light. Still in use today, halogen standard headlights are the most common headlights on the road.
Projection beam headlights work similarly to standard headlights, but feature a special rear-facing bulb. This bulb illuminates the reflective case of the headlight to cast a brighter, more focused and more uniformly lit spot.
Halo headlights are some of the most aesthetically-appealing options out there. Very rarely standard, halo headlights surround a projector beam with a halo of light to make a vehicle’s headlights appear like eyes. In practice, they add very little light to the total projection, and are primarily valued for their stylish and sporty appearance.
Let’s be honest, we’ve all had that moment of late night panic when we see somebody in our rear-view mirror with bright white/blue lights pointed forward. HID (high-intensity discharge) lights not only provide some of the furthest available visibility in a headlight, but they feature a distinctly “cool” radiance, as opposed to the warm colors exuded by standard and projector beam halogen headlights. HID Headlights are also called Xenon headlights, as Xenon is one of the gases inside the bulb that allows it to glow, and sounds like a futuristic spaceship feature.
LED Headlights are some of the most energy efficient bulbs available. They’re also some of the most recent to appear, and some of the most attractive. Featuring a more concentrated and uniform appearance than other types of headlights, LEDs can be utilized in shapes beside a bulb. This versatility has allowed some of the coolest headlight and taillight design to pop up over the last 5 – 10 years. LEDs also run cooler than pretty much any other headlight technology, meaning they last longer.
Perhaps the most insanely cool combination of two words we can think to include on an automobile description, laser headlights are a brand new technology on the market. Before you start worrying about your cat chasing cars, however, it’s important to note that a laser isn’t actually emitted from the vehicle’s headlight casing. Instead a laser is used in place of electricity to excite a gas that produces photons (like HID lights).The difference is that laser headlights are more versatile, allowing different shapes and designs than LED headlights, but with over 1000 times the energy output at a fraction of the energy cost. They’re undoubtedly the next big leap in headlight technology.
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