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Shows and Congresses
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.

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".

Geneva auto show
Monday, 11 April 2016

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Geneva offered a great variety of show cars this year, with everything from the very familial Renault Scenic to the powerful Bugatti Chiron and the innovative Opel Mokka, and niche vehicles like the Land Rover Cabriolet. Crossovers are really hotting up, with production intros from VW, Audi, Opel, Toyota, and a Subaru concept. And there were vehicles that would have seemed inconceivable just a few years ago—the Bentley Bentayga slated for U.S. sale this spring, and the Maserati Levante SUV appearing this week.

Many interesting new cars were presented, including Audi's Q2, the Mercedes GLC Coupé, the Toyota C-HR, Seat's Ateca, Peugeot 2008, and models from Kia, Subaru, Skoda, Jaguar, and more.

4 Takeaway points at the Geneva Auto Show

About lighting, with the general message about the shift to digital emphasised by the Mercedes E-Class, the four takeaway points DVN immediately retain from their visit are :

1. Decreasing headlamp height, especially on concept cars

2. DRL is a main function, now, no longer an ancillary add-on

3. Lighting to advertise technology content of the car as a whole

4. Strong visual signature by dint of rear light styling

As can be seen in this report, there’s new and exciting lighting on everything from small eco-cars to giant SUVs. The importance of lighting continues ramping up in advertising the overall technology and sophistication of a vehicle and its family ties and brand identity, and in projecting design themes to inspire emotional reactions.

2016 NewDelhi Workshop
Sunday, 06 March 2016

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The DVN Delhi Workshop was held on 9-10 February at the wonderful Crowne Plaza Greater Noida Hotel. The event got started with the DVN welcome dinner, which gathered all 200 attendees from 50 companies for a warmhearted special evening.

The next morning, the Workshop itself got started; the theme was:
«Affordable Technologies and Energy Saving»
and 20 lectures were presented.

After DVN Editor-in-Chief Hector Fratty's introductory speech on the status and the future of lighting, Robert Miller gave a keynote focused on styling, entitled "Lighting Design with the Car in Mind". The first two presentation sessions contained lectures on affordable front and rear lamps for emerging markets. 
There were interesting talks from Valeo, Hella, Minda, and IJL on affordable products and from Renault about the challenges to develop a worldwide car with such a range of different regulations, environments, and market preferences. 
Lumax-Stanley presented a new Bifunction LED with great improvements in weight, volume, and performance. Noted vehicle lighting film producer Rainer Neuman gave a charismatic presentation on advanced lighting technologies.

The third session centred on light sources—LEDs, of course, but also halogen for motorcycles (which make up a huge proportion of the Indian vehicle market) with the new H17 and for cars with new H18 and H19. The fourth session was devoted to Tier 2 presentations by Mentor, LMT, Docter Optics, and Snopsys—all of whom gave interesting information on affordable products.

As is now de rigueur for a DVN Workshop, a panel discussion about regulations was chaired by GTB President Geoff Draper. This time, the rubric was "The Implications of a new approach to the UN Regulations for Indian Stakeholders", with participation of all organisations and companies involved in regulations in India.
The subject of harmonisation and synchronisation was particularly relevant because although India is not a contracting party to the UN 1958 Agreement, Indian experts are regular contributors to the work of GRE and the country broadly follows the UN technical requirements. This workshop was an opportunity to gather an understanding the Indian perspective on regulation of automotive lights, lamps, and signals. Opportunity was taken to understand whether the stakeholders of India would be interested in a GTB initiative to lead a new global approach to the technical requirements, in close coöperation with the UN World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations (WP29).

15 lighting companies exhibited their products and services with a grand collection of display booths—presented in this report.




2016 India Auto Expo
Sunday, 28 February 2016

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This year's Auto Expo is the biggest in its history, with SUVs and crossovers playing a prominent role as manufacturers display their upcoming cars to the Indian market. The crowds were large and vehicles displayed were mostly low-cost models that offer a greater acceptance to this fast growing market.
What was most impressive was the amount of young, passionate visitors whose obvious excitement towards cars and technology was contagious
According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, this year's Auto Expo saw around 58 auto manufacturers participate, while 80 new vehicles were unveiled. This report highlights some of the notable lighting examples and show some specific technologies and directions OEMs are taking in the India market.

Young buyers were clearly excited and impressed with these cars but many of the comments we overheard were about " how cool" the exterior lighting was. It was clear that India's appetite for advance vehicle designs and its desire for more sophisticated styling cues that involved complex lighting designs was very evident at the expo.

The low-cost models showcased had very nice overall body styling. What was clearly evident was the use of what we call simulated DRL's in headlamps and front body areas even though they are not required for the India market. We saw many interesting designs of headlamps that employed the use of light guides, wave guides, dimensional looks and textures that were innovative and clearly made the DNA of the brand stand out. Most of the headlamps that had design sophistication clearly set the overall tone for the car and it's personality.

The rear lighting for many of India's cars that were displayed also benefited from some very nice designs that incorporated accent lighting using light guides and wave guides that incorporated texture and patterns. We werealso impressed with the use of homogenous lighting that was tastefully used within many of the designs.
The use of transparency, textures and dimensional looks is the global trend with lighting, and India's exploding car market is quickly adopting these styling cues as young consumers grow savvy and develop a taste for styling sophistication.
Interior lighting is also enjoying some growth within this market. It was evident that lighting in the interior is very important to the culture of cars in India. Higher-end vehicles are now incorporating tasteful interior ambient accents within the interior.
Although simple approaches are now being used, common areas are : illuminated door handles, floor areas, upper console glow accents and simple illumination with the cup holders.
As this area of light matures over the next few years and OEMs figure out how to control costs for new materials and designs I expect interior lighting to grow and the color of light, placement and uses will align with the culture and carve out its own design niche for this market.



2016 NAIAS report
Tuesday, 09 February 2016

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Much of the lustre has worn off the Detroit auto show. As more technology-orientated shows like the Los Angeles motor show have siphoned off interest, NAIAS had even fewer concept, idea, and dream cars this year than last year, and last year was slim pickings. However, those that were present were all at a very high level, no matter what stage of thinking or prototyping they represented. It was especially interesting to see several production-ready versions of cars that were shown last year as concepts; we were able to compare the lighting mockups and placeholders with the developed actuality. In some cases the development was upward-forward; in others it was opposite. And in this year's concept cars, the degree of design, styling, and technology innovation in the lighting mockups was unprecedented. Clearly lighting is well and truly integral and forward in automakers' minds and vehicle design.

The world's automakers are really getting the knack of effectively using lighting to create brand and model signatures, present family ties among models, advertise corporate identity, and trumpet their vehicles' overall level of technology. Different automakers do this in different ways, of course; for some, there's strong uniformity in the lamps on all their models. For others, there's familial resemblance but each model's look is more assertively tailored. Styling trends that can be seen across multiple marques include the use of light guides to create roadway or racetrack appearances within and between lamps; the use of jewellery effects created by optics, and the use of chrome to create "silver platter" looks of luxury. At least as importantly, the uptake of LED headlamps is roaring along in high gear. More and ever more popular-price cars have LED headlamps as standard or optional equipment. The Toyota Corolla touched off a revolution two years ago when LED low beams became standard equipment on all models; this year, direct competitors Honda Civic and Nissan Sentra both offer high-specification, thoughtfully-designed LED headlamps. The democratisation of formerly exclusive things like LED headlamps seems to be gaining substantial traction.

LED rear lamps are rapidly gaining fitment rates, but incandescents are still quite plentiful—it is notable that we see a substantial number of models with highly advanced LED front lighting, but basic incandescent rear lights. There's a definite continuation of another trend we noticed last year: lighting content and technology advancements even in the traditionally conservative pickup truck segment. More pickup trucks have LED headlamps, there are LED DRLs, LED tail lamps, and some truck lighting configurations that would have been unimaginably de luxe just a few years ago.


2015 ISAL PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 November 2015

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Executive Summary

For the engineers and experts who could not attend ISAL 2015, or for the attendants who did not catch all the information, we are pleased to release a photo-illustrated report presenting highlights of some of the lectures, with DVN's expert analysis and commentary. It is not intended as a comprehensive recap, nor as a digest version of the whole symposium; those interested in the full docket who were unable to attend are well advised to purchase the proceedings, which are available by enquiry from TU-Darmstadt. General topics coverd by the report include:

Front lighting, with 3 main messages staying in mind:
1) LED is the technology of the future. Many lectures showed the huge and anticipated progress of this technology, the infinite possibilities in styling, and the arrival of more affordable Eco-LED light sources with attractive energy consumption for the medium segment, all of these factors leading to a probable market prevalence much higher than expected a few year ago;
2) Great future of ADB, with a variety of lectures emphasising ADB great potential in the future mainly with the arrival of new technologies derived from video projectors (and some interesting material on APB, adaptive passing beam);
3) Laser technology is becoming a reality even if the cost is still very high and all the validations are not finished.

Rear lighting with 2 prominent new trends:
1) Many lectures on sequential turn indicators which way was opened by the Audi's A8 new styling and safety(?) trend;
2) OLED technology with 3 interesting lectures—OLED car lights should reach production stage in 2016/2017. But other techniques such as Hella's impressive holographic optics may give OLED vigourous competition.

Interior lighting, more and more important with the arrival of semi-autonomous cars.
The report closes with pictures taken during the event: booths, displays, and around 800 people gathered during 2 days. There's also an exclusive interview with Professor Khanh, the president of the ISAL congress. Give it a look!
- Booths are really a great lever for promoting new technologies. It is possible to see them working, to touch them, to check them, to compare them. Real stuff will always be more convincing than words or leaflets.
- Benchmarking is the most important point we retain from this congress. The lighting community is a special and unique one. What a pleasure to talk technics with the colleagues, to share some opinion or to debate on the future of a technology or a new car model!

In conclusion, it is true that participants stay two days out of their office. It is nothing compared with what we learn during these 2 days. The old times—when we were working secretly, hiding our results and findings, rejecting everything NIH (Not Invented Here)—are really finished!

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