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Shows and Congresses
ISAL 2017 CONGRESS
Tuesday, 14 November 2017

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This year's ISAL, which took place on September 25-27 was very well attended—more so than ever before, with over 800 people. That demonstrates that vehicle lighting is important not just in theory, but in practice. Every one of those attendees was there for a good reason; each of them play a part, however large or small, in advancing the state of the art and the deployment of advanced vehicle lighting as a crucial element of the global drive towards more safety via fewer crashes.

Clearly, the low beam is a zombie technology: dead, but still walking. it exists not because it is adequate—it was never adequate, it was just the only possible way to have traffic-compatible headlighting under technical and technological constraints that no longer exist. ADB and related matters dominated the presentations this year, and rightly so. Nevertheless, most drivers still live in a low beam/high beam world, and this year's lectures included coverage of low and high beam production, especially improved low and high beams by advanced lighting technology and technique.

Other interesting ideas presented in the lectures and posters include new ways of making and evaluating lights, fundamentally new ways of using visible light (e.g., for human-invisible machine-to-machine or machine-to-infrastructure communications), new designs, new light sources, and comparative assessments of competing new ways of achieving the much higher and more versatile performance that will be demanded by tomorrow's drivers—human and machine alike. There was a very good presentation on headlamp lens cleaning, but nothing on the increasingly-crucial topic of lamp aim, and the content on adverse-weather lighting, while tantalising, left us wanting more.

Another prime topic: evolution in the testing and regulation of car lights, badly needed to keep up with the many new arriving functions and proposals The once-in-a-lifetime regulatory simplification and globalisation effort begun a couple of years ago has gained substantial traction and is well under way; there were several talks about its progress. 

All in all, it was a roundly successful and highly informative event. In this report, the most salient lectures and all of the posters are summarized, together with an exclusive DVN Interview with Professor Khanh of TU-Darmstadt's L-Lab, chief organiser of ISAL.

 
IAA 2017-Frankfurt Show
Tuesday, 17 October 2017

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This, DVN's 119th report, is a close look at the new and notable lights and driver-assist features at the 2017 IAA Frankfurt motor show, to the near-total exclusion of other parts and views of the vehicle. Every model covered here can readily be viewed in its entirety elsewhere, but this is the only comprehensive report on the lights and automations. As such, it is not an every-model catalogue; only those vehicles with noteworthy vision and visibility features are covered. This year we present 172 clear, colourful, sharp images at the perfect size whether you're viewing on a computer screen, a tablet, or you choose to print it out and carry it with you. Where warranted, we provide multiple views of the same lamp from different angles—annotated and described with text. The report is arranged alphabetically by marque, whether the brand applies to a car maker or a technology supplier.

Here are the five main takeaway points we retain from the show:

  • As discussed in the recently published DVN Study (The Impact of a Changing Automotive Industry on Exterior Lighting) three trends are transforming the automotive world: electrification, connectivity, and advanced assisted driving. They require new sytems architectures, skills, and competencies. Tier 1 suppliers like Delphi, Bosch, Continental, ZF, Valeo, Denso, and Magna brought extensive show-and-tell on the subject to the show.
  • Lighting functions are strongly influenced by these trends as can be seen in presentations by Hella, Valeo, and ZKW: high definition LED projection lights on the road to warn, inform, bring additional comfort to the driver, completely new interior and exterior lighting to welcome the driver and help them through the different levels of automomous driving, new exterior and interior light designs with the disappearance of the front grill on e-cars and the introduction of large OLED surfaces on the rear faces.
  • Electric cars open a new paradise for designers: city cars, for example, with flat floors, shortened hoods, dashboards reduced to a single screen. From that perspective, SUVs appear like dinosaurs with their large wheels, big engines, and chunky shapes.
  • Korean and Chinese car maker presence is quite remarkable. Hyundai and Kia had their usual large booths, but Chery and Wey (Great Wall's brand) put forth an unusually strong Chinese showing. In contrast, the absence of Fiat, Peugeot, Rolls-Royce, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Volvo and Tesla raises eyebrows.
  • Impressive showfloors of Mercedes, BMW, Audi, and VW, amongst many others, demonstrate that progress is happening fast. It is reasonable to predict that all car models will soon offer an electric powered version, whether hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or full electric.

There was an unprecedented level of focus on electric cars at this year's show. There was also a wide array of prototypes and concept cars and a goodly variety of new production models on display. This year more than ever before, major (and some lesser-known) tier-1 suppliers of driving assistance and automation technology were exhibiting their wares and works directly to show attendees. All in all it was a showcase of the general trend toward higher lighting and automatic content on vehicles in general, though it could also be clearly seen that cheap old technology—bulb taillamps and H4 headlamps—continues to persist, including some surprising applications of these power-hungry old techniques on electric vehicles wherein less lighting efficiency means less vehicle range.

The car-lights-as-art revolution has well and truly gone mainstream; it is harder than ever to find a car equipped with form-follows-function lighting. The whole industry, worldwide, is striving at an unprecedented rate to add glitz, fascination, and fashion to what used to be purely functional, minimally-styled equipment. There's never been a wider variety in the use of lighting for the advertisement of brand and model-range identity and vehicle technology. A number of vehicles showed ideas of how to use light in new ways as semi- (and eventually fully-) autonomous cars join in the world's traffic, as car-sharing begins to erode car-ownership, and as electric cars come (back) into their own as a significant force after nearly a century's absence.

We hope you find this report as enjoyable and informative to peruse and read as we did to create.

 
2017 DVN Shanghai Workshop
Tuesday, 20 June 2017

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The four parts of this report are:

1. Summary and analysis of most of the 25 lectures including six from automakers and seven from lighting tier-1s. Overspanning highlights:
• Digital manipulation of light is replacing hardware. ADB, though not yet allowed in the USA, is the headlighting technique of the future. Everybody's working on it (matrix/pixel, DLP, LCD, µAFS, or scanning) to improve the resolution.
• But ADB is not suitable for dense mega-cities, so it is important to define a new light function such as Honda's ACL.
• Headlamp aim is a real problem for automakers and suppliers because improper aim effectively spoils even good lights. Everyone is working on how to improve their lights' IIHS rankings.
• Standardisation is a cost-lowering technique car makers are increasingly using.
• Fast progress in LED & laser efficacy, luminance, and accuracy.
• Regulations need to adapt quickly and be safety-orientated, anticipating new technology and autonomous vehicles.
• New concepts (e.g., holography) and reliability improvements (e.g., condensation management) are now available to car makers.

2. The panel session on regulations headed by GTB President Geoff Draper, who is successfully steering stepwise progress on regulatory reform and coöperation to minimise divergence among regs in Europe, North America, China, Japan, Korea, and the rest of the world.

3. Networking amongst participants and speakers—illustrated with pictures of the exhibitations, during the lectures, during the breaks, and the dinner.

4. The round table chaired by Audi's Wolfgang Huhn, who led ten of the field's greatest experts in discussion on the future of vehicle lighting to help the community to better know the future of their jobs.

 
2017 Shanghai Auto Show
Tuesday, 23 May 2017

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The Shanghai Auto Exposition is a massive affair with approximately 100,000 people attending daily. It is estimated that the 2017 visitor register will top 1 million mark during the nine-day event. With 1,400 vehicles displayed it quickly can overwhelm your senses with brands, style, musical presentations and people.

With a multitude of carmakers and brands from all over the world, the China brands are impressive and include but not limited to Changan (Drives the World) to BAIC (Innovation, Wisdom, the Future). We see Qoros and Brilliance, Wey and Hanteng, Haval and FAW, plus BYD. There's Dongfeng, Great Wall, Chery, Geely and SAIC. And those listed are the biggest ones.

Over the past ten years, China has emerged as a major player in the automotive global marketplace. The Shanghai Motor Show presents Chinese consumers with an opportunity to see the latest and greatest offerings from around the world. Also sharing center stage are the American, European and other OEM that are interested in capturing a piece of the pie from the Chinese market. So far, China's numerous carmakers have been enjoying a booming domestic market. It's now the world's biggest market, with 24 million cars sold last year, and continues to expand, as China grows.
What was noticed first was progressive styling and appearance that many of the Chinese OEMs are moving to. Styling that comes from the heart of the Chinese culture was visually stated with almost every OEM that exhibited. It is great to see China's individual cultural taste expanding and finding it in the new designs of their cars. Gone was the extensive copying of other OEMs designs, now there is truly a strong and impressive Chinese style that has also taken center stage with the rest of the OEMs.

Exterior lighting continues to wow consumers with beauty, dimensional effects and has really become the eye-catching jewels for the exterior. Illuminated logos, grills, headlamp signature plates will continue to expand with light. Interiors will continue to evolve and become more visually rich with materials and the use of lighting.

In this report, at the opposite of former reports on autoshow where we present the different concept-cars and production cars per OEM, we change presenting the different stylings showcased in the show, as some DRLs, Dynamic lighting, new texture, wave guides, illuminated brandings, or LED signatures.

 
Geneva International Motor Show - 2017 Report
Tuesday, 28 March 2017

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The 4 Takeways at Geneva 2017

Once again an enormous success for this 87th edition. The Geneva International Motor Show had registered more than 690,000 entries as of two hours before the official closing on Sunday evening. This 87th edition was set in motion by the election of the Car of the Year, won by the Peugeot 3008, then the presentation of 175 new models and concept cars to a gathering of 10,700 media representatives from all over the world.
Visitors had the pleasure of viewing more than 900 exciting vehicles on display within the framework of what has become the largest event for this country
Again now, last former shows, a very low level of promotion about lighting in the booths and press releases of car makers in spite of many interesting headlamps and rear lamps equipped the new production and concept cars exhibited. With the arrival of LEDs, the designers have now the possibility to present daring and imaginative new lamps.

To see all the pictures at high resolution, visit the Link to Album

The four takeaway points we immediately retain from my visit are:

1 Use headlamps and rear lamps in the concept cars to accentuate the signature of the brand


Ranger Rover Velar

Opel Crossland X

Volkswagen Arteon

Volvo XC60

2 Accentuation of module use


Lexus LC 500h

Volkswagen Arteon

Citroen C Air Cross Conc.

Jaguar i-Pace

3 Accentuation of the brands signature with rear lights


Jaguar i_Pace

Audi A5

Peugeot 5008

Range Rover Velar

4 Animation and Dynamics


Audi Q8

Peugeot Instinct

DS 7

Mercedes X-Class
 
2017 US DVN Workshop Report
Tuesday, 21 February 2017

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The 2017 DVN US Workshop in Rochester was our 15th Workshop overall, our forth in North America, and a smashing success. 275 attendees, 25% more than the last US workshop, represented automakers, tier-1 and -2 suppliers, academics, regulators, and renowned designers from all over the world.
The expo booths were diverse and fascinating, and the 23 lectures were of a notably high level of excellence and interest, and the round table panel discussions—a unique and much-loved feature of DVN Workshops wherever they're held—brought formidable levels of expertise to bear on the pressing topical questions which, by their answers, will define and shape what the coming generations of vehicle lights will look like, how they will work, and how they will be regulated.

We present in the report the main trends in automotive lighting technologies

  • Future of automotive lighting is going to new functionalities, ith the arrival of autonomous cars
  • Digital is going to replace hardware and ADB, even not yet accepted by NHTSA, is THE technology all players are working on either in matrix/pixel or DLP, LCD, µAFS, or scanning.
  • Quality of aiming is becoming a real problem for OEMs and their suppliers because a bad aiming didtry the quality of a good lighting.
  • Many electronic comers are starting to be present in the automotive lighting as the presentations of NXP, Lear, IAV, showed it.
  • The importance of regulations, simple and oriented to safety, anticipating the news technologies related to autonomous vehicles.
 
2017 North American International Auto Show
Monday, 30 January 2017

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The Detroit auto show has skidded quite a ways downward from its heights in the 1950s and '60s when it seemed everyone in the world wanted an American car (and that was the only type shown). Despite heavy promotion of the show as roundly international and all-inclusive, makers who did not display at the show included Bentley, Lamborghini, Maserati, Land Rover, Jaguar, Porsche, MINI, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, and America's own Tesla. These makers, amongst others, increasingly see the Detroit show as simply not relevant in a current-day automotive world where the North American innovation hot spots are in Silicon Valley.

This year's Detroit motorama brought few jawdropping out-and-out surprises; rather, it was a showcase of the general trend toward higher lighting content on most vehicles offered in the world's second-largest vehicle market. One crucial piece of the context that separates the Detroit show from others round the world is that the US is one of the two countries on the North American regulatory island: the United States has its own lighting regulations, significantly different to the UN (or UN-approximate) regulations recognised by most of the rest of the world. So most vehicles on offer in America—and therefore most vehicles on display at the show—have different lighting system specifications and particulars than their equivalents elsewhere in the world. Red rear turn signals are allowed in America, for example, and front and rear sidemarker lights and reflectors are required, but side turn signal repeaters and rear fog lamps and DRLs are not. And ADB is still not yet legal in America, so models that come equipped in Europe are stripped of that feature for the American market. And it's not just lighting regulations that are different; most all North American vehicle regulations differ substantially from their international UN counterparts, as do North American vehicle buyers' habits and preferences, so it's really quite a different mix of vehicles than might be found at Paris or Frankfurt or Shanghai, for example.

Overall, last year's news is also this year's news: increasing lighting content on the front, sides, and rear of vehicles, but this is not a one-way trend. LED daytime running lights, though not required, are present on a lot more vehicles. The car-lights-as-art revolution, though it got its start in Europe, has well and truly spread to American shores. The whole industry, worldwide, is striving at an unprecedented rate to add glitz and fascination to what used to be purely functional, minimally-styled equipment. It is surely safe to say the old philosophy of vehicle lights as commodity items is shrinking in the American rear-view mirror. Another trend on the obvious increase is the use of lighting for brand and model-range identity advertisement.

 
2016 VISION CONGRESS
Tuesday, 22 November 2016

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The VISION 2016 Congress and Expo was bigger than ever before: nearly 600 people attended. This year a new venue replaced the redoubtable Versailles location—the Cité des Sciences, right in Paris. There was also a new venue, Mortefontaine, for 27 demonstrator cars this year to show off innovations and implementations for those VISION attendees who participated in the nighttime ride-alongs.

Lectures covered a wide array of different lighting-related topics—the expanding frontiers of front and rear lighting technology and technique, new and complicated developments in simulation, testing, and ranking. Also well covered: the urgent need and burgeoning possibilities for whole, entire new kinds of car lights. What's a pedestrian, accustomed to making eye contact with a human driver before crossing the street in front of the car, to do when there's no human driver? The autonomous car must be able to signal to the pedestrian "I see you, and it's safe for you to cross now". And that's only one example of numerous new machine-to-human messages that must be conveyable with light in ways that are universally understood, unambiguous, and inoffensive across the world's very diverse cultures. Heuristics for sifting useful strategies from thousands of ideas were presented, as were experiments with a variety of strategies for machine-to-human communication with light.

Rear lighting, too, was a hot topic. The development and manufacture of the world's first production OLED taillamp was presented in picayune detail across several lectures, as were new ideas including LCD displays to add graphic messaging display capabilities to combination rear lamps.

New kinds of augmented-vision systems were presented; Israel continues to be an interesting hot spot for development of this kind of technology. Several lectures presented comparisons of different wavelength bands (near infrared, far infrared, etc) for helping drivers see better.

Lasers, too, got a great deal of attention, with very intricate micromirror prototypes and new strategies to blend LED and laser light for high efficiency presented and discussed. Other unconventional new technologies included a new kind of driving glasses that sharply reduce headlamp glare without cutting down on the driver's use of his own lights, new ADB strategies, a dual-path tapdance around the age-old inefficiencies of polarised light for headlamp applications, and more.

The exposition portion of the congress comprised a large variety of companies showing off their products and services, and the pre-event and first-night dinners afforded ample opportunity for friendly and informative discussions amongst attendees.

 
Paris Mondial Motor Show
Tuesday, 25 October 2016

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Rarely have there been so many first showings of electric cars and production-based e-studies as at this year's Paris Motor Show. Some of the electric vehicles now reach such a distance autonomy that potential buyers will lose their "range anxiety".

Despite a very low level of promotion about lighting in the booths and press releases of car makers, many interesting headlamps and rear lamps equipped the new production and concept cars exhibited during this 2016 Mondial in Paris. With the arrival of LEDs, the designers have now the possibility to present daring and imaginative new lamps.

The most interesting lights on concept cars were on the BMW X2, Citroën CXperience, Hyundai RN3O, Lexus UX, Mercedes electric crossover, Mitsubishi GT-PHEV concept, and Volkswagen EV.

As for production vehicles, the Audi Q5, Citroën C3, Honda Civic, Hyundai i30, Kia Rio, Land Rover Discovery, Nissan Micra, Peugeot 3008 & 5008, Porsche Panamera, Renault Alaskan, and Škoda Kodiaq bore the most notable new lights.

Mazda, Bentley, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce and Volvo were absent from the show, and surprisingly, the BMW 5 Series, Infiniti QX50 and a mid-life facelift for the VW Golf did not appear.

Three takeaway points :
1. Headlamps in the concept cars accentuate the signature of the brand.
2. Modules and compartments
3. Rear lights to accentuate the brand signature


BMW X2: Evolution of the rings


Audi Q5

To see all the high resolution pictures of all notable new lights, visit the DVN Photo Album.

 
2016 DVN Tokyo Workshop
Tuesday, 21 June 2016

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Around 240 attendees and exhibitors were present at the 2016 DVN Tokyo workshop. 38 were from 12 automaker brands, 72 were from 18 brands of lamp set makers, 118 were from 31 tier-2 brands, and ten organisations and regulatory bodies were represented.
18 sponsors were present with wonderful exhibitions.
The Japanese companies' lectures were notably interesting. They were presented in Japanese and the presenters were much more open and expressive than in European and American congresses.

The 5 key points developed during the DVN Tokyo Workshop 2016 were:

• With the arrival of autonomous cars, the future of automotive lighting is more and more complex and interesting to consider. How will today's functionalities merge with (and/or give way to) tomorrow's new ones?

• ADB, though not yet accepted by NHTSA, is the technology everyone is working on. There's a big mix of techniques (matrix, pixel, DLP, MEMS, etc).

• There's a glut of newcomers starting to be present in the automotive lighting field as the presentations of NXP and Mektec showed. And existing known participants as Bosch, Infineon, Lear, Panasonic, Texas Instruments, are branching out in interesting ways.
• Standardisation is becoming more and more important, for all not visible inside the headlamp: light source, bulb holders, electronics, modules.

• We all need to advocate and strive toward regulations that are as simple, safety-orientated, performance-based, and technology-neutral as possible. Geoff Draper: "To realise the benefits of technology neutral and stable regulation its industry members must invest the time of its experts, and support the cost of the associated research".

 
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