Automotive lighting has come a long way since automobiles began. Automotive lighting has evolved into a global mega-trend. Revolutionary advances in lighting technology have inspired driving enthusiasts to seek out the latest innovations. Trends in automotive lighting centre on superior performance, enhanced security, and futuristic design. It’s these trends that provide the critical focus for research and development activities of manufacturers. Here’s what technology has to offer.
The BMW i8 and the Audi R8 LMX launched almost simultaneously are the first series production vehicles to come with laser headlights. This latest development in automotive lighting is the new paradigm in headlight design and performance. It’s the next mammoth step forward in evolution in headlight technology since the introduction of halogen, xenon, and LED headlight technologies. Laser technology is set to make headlight assemblies significantly smaller and comparatively more efficient. One laser diode generates an almost punctiform luminous flux on a few thousandths of a millimeter giving brightness of almost four times that of an LED. This means even smaller headlights in future with greater light intensity.
In the past three years, research has created a high resolution smart headlight that analyzes driving and weather conditions continuously, taking adaptive forward lighting to a new dimension. The µAFS LED headlights may be perceived as the bridge in between LED and Laser headlights. In these individually adaptable smart pixel headlights for optimum light conditions, both headlights contain three LED light sources. Each has 1,024 individually controllable light points or pixels. These headlights adapt with precision to suit the respective traffic situation and ensure optimum light conditions at all times without dazzling out the oncoming driver. The light can be adapted to take into account every conceivable bend in the road, leaving no dark peripheral areas. Sensors in the vehicle analyze the surroundings and illuminate the oncoming traffic, allowing the driver to see vehicles with better clarity. Most importantly, the beam of light does not shine into the face of an oncoming driver. No more the need to flip beams to dim your beam on country roads.
Yet another technological revolution in LED lighting are the ‘around-the-corner-car lights’ or the bend lighting LED headlamps. These are headlamps with a bendable light source, already installed in some of the high-end vehicles. LED technology for bend lighting has made mechanical assemblies redundant. Now there’s no need to move parts of the headlight or the entire headlight to achieve around the corner illumination. The Advanced Forward Lighting Systems (AFS) needs no mechanical interface. The multiple chips of the multi-chip LED can be individually-controlled, giving the flexibly to switch on or off according to the driving situations and positions of others on the road.
The OLED technology is an interesting option in automotive lighting gaining huge interest amongst customers. OLEDs are flat light sources that achieve more homogeneity and can be evenly and individually dimmed. These lights are interesting because of the convex and concave bending, as well as the feature giving incisions in the lighting area.