Clever Design Using Light and Geometry

Over 5,000 years ago our ancient ancestors positioned a 200,000 ton stone structure on the banks of the River Boyne in Co. Meath.  We don’t know exactly why, but we do know that our descendants possessed exceptional intelligence and understanding of the sun. In fact they could precisely determine the unique solar position in the sky, at sunrise on the shortest day of the year; and focus this early morning light into a small passage to illuminate a chamber deep inside the structure at Newgrange.

Today we have a much deeper understanding of light. We study trigonometry, geometry and optics to develop new technologies like Škoda’s LED Matrix headlights to make our lives more convenient and safe.

At Škoda we can’t help but admire, fascinate and wonder at the achievements of our ancient ancestors many millennia ago and would like to celebrate this feat on the Winter Solstice.

Newgrange & The Winter Solstice explained

Newgrange is a Neolithic tomb located in the Boyne Valley in County Meath. It’s over 5,000 years old, making it older than the Great Pyramids and Stonehenge. Archaeologists now classify Newgrange as an Ancient Temple. It’s made from 200,000 tonnes of stone and is, perhaps, most famous for having alignment to the winter solstice, which was first discovered by Michael J. Kelley in 1967.

It's a pinnacle achievement of the passage tomb tradition and culture in Ireland. Ireland has over 200 passage tombs, with several of them having alignments to summer and winter solstices, but Newgrange and its sister sites of Knowth and Dowth and are probably the most famous of these. All three have been designated World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. During the time of the Neolithic period in which Newgrange was built, Ireland was a shining light; influencing what was happening in other areas.

In many cases, these ancient monuments have been untouched. For example, Queen Maeve - who features in our Škoda Legends campaign - is (supposedly) buried in a 30,000-tonne structure in Sligo that has gone unopened. Today, Newgrange is one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions, with up to 200,000 visitors each year.

Every year, at sunrise on the winter solstice, sunlight shines through a perfectly positioned opening in the monument, called a roof box; illuminating the 19-metre-long passage and the chamber it leads to.

The Stone Age farmers who built Newgrange likely had a particular fascination with the sun and charting the course of its journey through the year. They likely used the winter solstice alignment to mark the beginning of the new year. Many people gather annually outside the monument on December 21st, with a small number of people getting the chance to go inside the chamber to witness this dazzling event.

Dr. Robert Hensey

Dr. Robert Hensey is an archaeologist and author who specialises in the investigation of the Neolithic period, with particular reference to Irish passage tombs. He is an Adjunct Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Galway and has studied Newgrange at length, even writing a book; 'First Light: The Origins of Newgrange’.

Interview with Dr. Robert Hensey

Newgrange & Škoda's LED Matrix Headlights

Škoda's LED Matrix Headlights explained

The biggest advantage of Matrix light technology is that the system automatically responds to the traffic situation and, if required, turns off only some segments of the light beam.

Other segments remain on and continue to illuminate the road. This makes the driver feel considerably safer. Essentially, Matrix technology enables the driver to use the headlights’ high beam function even when another vehicle is driving towards or in front of the Škoda, without dazzling the other road user.

The system generates a light beam consisting of several segments, which are controlled individually. This allows drivers to have the high beam on at all times without dazzling other road users.

The intelligent technology uses the camera on the windscreen to detect oncoming traffic and vehicles driving in front of the car as well as people and objects reflecting the light.

The control unit then immediately turns off individual segments of the light beam to effectively prevent others from being dazzled. The animated Coming/Leaving Home function adds a special visual touch. It automatically turns parts of the headlights and tail lights on and off in a specified sequence when getting into or out of the car.

Adaptive lighting for various driving and weather conditions:

  • The headlights provide different lighting modes for various situations and weather conditions, such as driving in the city, on the motorway or in the rain.
  • They consist of a bi-LED module for the dipped and Matrix high beam and three further LED high beam segments. A narrow LED strip provides the turn indicators, daytime running and position lights; needle-like LEDs form part of the animated Coming/Leaving Home function.
  • When negotiating a bend in the road, yet another LED dynamically illuminates the road depending on the mode; when turning, redesigned fog lights – which use the four LED light sources that come as standard – act as the cornering light.
  • Beneath the new chrome trim at the rear, the indicators in the full LED tail lights illuminate in an outward sweeping motion, making the light signal even more noticeable; they therefore increase safety and create additional dynamics at the same time.

Do you want to see these Matrix LED headlights in action? Watch Bob Flavin's video below as he showcases this intelligent technology with our very own Škoda Superb.

Full LED Matrix Headlights are available now across the Škoda range!

Matrix LED Headlights are available across our Škoda range. See what's in stock now or build your own!