Monday , January 20 2020
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Who Pays for the $1,500 Headlight?

Summary:
Your next fender-bender could cost you thousands – and not because of the cost of unbending the fenders. The price of headlights is skyrocketing – because they are no longer just headlights. They are headlight systems, many of them with dozens of individual LED lights – each of them costing more than a single sealed beam halogen headlight – all of them mounted in an ornate, fragile and rapidly yellowing plastic housing. They are not merely plugged in. They are tied-in. To sensors and computers. Some of them to GPS. The latest systems – such as those found in higher-end cars like Audis, Porsches and BMWs – can set you back ,500 or more for the pair. Used. And it’s not just Porsches, BMWs and Audis. Fords and Chevys are

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Your next fender-bender could cost you thousands – and not because of the cost of unbending the fenders.

The price of headlights is skyrocketing – because they are no longer just headlights. They are headlight systems, many of them with dozens of individual LED lights – each of them costing more than a single sealed beam halogen headlight – all of them mounted in an ornate, fragile and rapidly yellowing plastic housing.

They are not merely plugged in. They are tied-in. To sensors and computers.

Some of them to GPS.

The latest systems – such as those found in higher-end cars like Audis, Porsches and BMWs – can set you back $1,500 or more for the pair.

Used.

And it’s not just Porsches, BMWs and Audis. Fords and Chevys are getting similar systems. You can’t get a new car without one of these systems, more or less elaborate.

What do you get for your money?

Well, you no longer have to remember to pull back on a steering wheel stalk to dim your high beams – that onerous chore of the medieval era. Like having to apply the brakes in an emergency – or keep the car in its lane.

The headlight system will dim the brights automatically. But often more clumsily – and not as quickly as quickly as an attentive human driver.

Who has “sensors” superior in range, nuance and interpretive powers to those built into a headlight. A thinking brain that can assess, process and respond correctly to the almost infinitely variable conditions one finds out in the world – as opposed to programmed software that mindlessly reacts according to limited parameters.

It’s why the brights sometimes blind before they finally dim. Or they don’t come on when they should. Or they toggle spastically in between.

Very much of a piece with emergency brake “assistance” that comes on when there is no emergency – and Lane Keep “assist” that tries to force you back into your lane when you’re trying to make a turn.

Progress!

Eric Peters
Eric Peters is a freelance car/bike/political columnist. He escaped the corporate-owned media Big Boys years ago. Without the censorship of the corporate tools

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