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Automatic high beam system freaks out at Christmas light display

High beam tech seeks counselling after festively decorated village causes abject meltdown

Published: 20 Dec 2023

Here’s TopGear.com’s roving correspondent, Cory Spondent, with his mostly incorrect exclusives from the world of motoring

The automatic high beam system in an as-yet unnamed vehicle has suffered a fully blown meltdown after being exposed to the exuberant Christmas lights of a sleepy, affluent British village.

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The technology - which is designed to prevent drivers from blinding other road users - quickly became overwhelmed by the presence of several luminescent reindeer at the roadside.

High beam assistance works by recognising the headlights of other vehicles and dipping the beam accordingly, although science is not yet advanced enough to tell the difference between the lamps of a Mk1 Ford Kuga and an LED-based depiction of a waving Father Christmas.

The system is in a critical but stable condition, and is now recovering in hospital as doctors work on an over-the-air update that will - in the words of one practitioner - “stop it from ******* itself next time”.

One witness described events as “heartbreaking” and “troubling on a deeply personal level”. They explained: “Everything was normal until the car came face to face with the Thompsons’ flashing nativity scene at No. 31. Then without warning the headlights started having some kind of electronic seizure.

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“I told Tracey and Keith that the 500-bulb baby Jesus was too much, but did they listen? They even wrapped that cherry tree of theirs in fairy lights, for goodness sake. What do they think it is, an E-Class grille?”

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