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Technical survey and regulations
Lighting and Thermal Simulation Tools
Tuesday, 25 April 2017

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This report presents an update on the evolution of lighting simulation tools and techniques developed by tier-1 and -2 automotive lighting companies (and by one automaker).

The proliferation of complex, intricate vehicle lighting systems (AFS, ADB, matrix and pixel beam, etc) necessitates system simulation and the ability to virtually drive a wide variety of beam patterns without having to run multiple expensive and time-consuming night drives in the real world. This ability to simulate is becoming ever more important as the newest lighting technologies continue to grow in complexity—µAFS, DMD, LCD, and MEMS scanning, for example.

Likewise, the market penetration of LEDs calls ever more urgently for virtual development tools—notably for thermal simulations and accounting for worst-case scenarios in term of tolerances with the extreme precision required for LED optics. Sophisticated visualisation tools and immersive system like CAVE give a good representation in virtual reality of the performance and appearance of the final product. These tools also deliver a high-fidelity representation of the final product in the virtual environment for evaluation and development of night and day design and style.

In the first part of this report an automaker's work in this field is described. Most carmakers have decided that simulators are very powerful tools to facilitate communication and collaboration between engineers and designers from the beginning of a project, even before suppliers are selected.

In the second part of the report, simulation approaches developed by tier-1 suppliers are presented. Simulation tools are key levers for companies in this field, and most details are closely-guarded secrets. Nevertheless, we've been authorised to present interesting information about the way lighting tier-1 suppliers simulate new products in development.

The third part of this report focuses on tier-2 suppliers. Since our last report, Synopsys acquired Brandenburg and now distribute a broad range of optical software adapted to every application. Optis' Speos product's impressive renderings are becoming de rigueur with the major importance given to style, and Oktal's SCANeR driving simulator has gained much traction, especially in the French market. The main features of their simulation tools are presented, together with their achievements.

The last part of the report describes thermal simulation, which has steadily increased in importance and is now quite essential given the prevalence of electronics and thermally-sensitive LEDs.

Lighting simulation teams are usually rather small units in a company. For these experts, it is especially important to exchange with experts from other companies. Nevertheless, there are not many conferences offered about this topic. This report provides in 30 pages comprehensive coverage of simulation tools for lighting and thermals.

 
Adaptive Driving Beam
Tuesday, 13 September 2016

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In front lighting, the last ten years have brought numerous innovations in light sources with the introduction of LEDs in 2007, laser in 2014, and the arrival of cameras used in lighting.
But the crown jewel innovation in automotive lighting is ADB (Adaptive Driving Beam, also called Glare-Free High Beam). It reached the road in production on the VW Touareg and Phaeton in 2010, and after a few more years LED matrix ADB systems came along and this year LED pixel light in the Mercedes E-Class.
While the systems all do the same thing in theory—give the driver nearly full high-beam seeing and exposing other drivers only to low-beam glare—the state of the art is advancing rapidly and the methods of achieving the goal are proliferating.

This 60 pages report on ADB explains the technology, the science and research on its efficacy, the four technical solutions, in production, development and research phase.
Example systems described and assessed in the report include that of the Audi A5, A7, A8, TT, Opel Astra and Mercedes CLS, E-Class launched recently.
Worldwide set makers' production or readiness status is elucidated with regard to ADB/Matrix/Pixel and a state-of-the-regulations section cover ECE and US.
A special part is dedicated to the future technologies as Digital Light Processing, Scanner system from MEMs, and Liquid Crystal Display which are still in research phase.

One of the most interesting point of the report is the recent interviews of the main players of automotive lighting concerning ADB and their vision about this technology and lighting in general:
- OEMs Wolfgang Huhn, Uwe Kostanzer, Christian Amann, Jean-Philippe Benoist, Ingolf Schneider, and Thorsten Warwel.
- Set makers Gerd Bahnmüller, Kamislav Fadel, Yuji Yokoya, Laurent Evrard, Rainer Neumann, and Jürgen Antonitsch .
It's a timely, informative, engaging report of value especially for those in our lighting community who aren't involved on a day-to-day basis with the rapid development of this ADB technology that stands to resolve the longstanding conflict between seeing and glare in traffic at night.

 
Vehicle Lights regulations
Tuesday, 26 July 2016

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Around the world, there are two major systems for regulating vehicle lights and lightlike devices (such as retro-reflectors). The UN (formerly "ECE" or "European") Regulations are recognised as mandatory or acceptable throughout most of the vehicle-driving world, but the US and Canada are a regulatory island of their own, with significantly different technical and legal requirements and without recognition of the UN regs. But the regulatory topography is quite a bit more complex than that. Some markets recognise only old versions of the UN Regulations. Some markets allow both UN and US lighting equipment. Some markets follow the technical requirements but not the legal structures of the UN system. Until recently, Japan was its own regulatory island, too. China and India are thinking about signing onto the UN system, but haven't made a decision yet. Various ASEAN countries do things how they like.

Differences in the various systems are not limited to only the raw technical rules of how much and what colour of light must be distributed in what kind of pattern from a given kind of device, along with various requirements for durability, environmental sealing, adjustability, and so on. There are also compliance mechanisms to consider; the US and Australia are among countries that use a self-certification system, while the UN system is predicated on reciprocally-recognised type approvals.

Although the regulatory-island effect can be leveraged to allow automakers to control what vehicles do and don't enter a market, and at what price, the automakers at least nominally strive to minimise the proliferation of different parts which drive up design, engineering, tooling, build, and parts-management costs. This is where harmonisation comes in, the effort to create and describe overlapping windows among the world's different regulations so one device can meet multiple requirements simultaneously. Past efforts toward official harmonisation have failed to gain traction, but recently-published technical documents with that goal in mind are a positive sign of movement in that direction.

The effects and implications of these technical and legal factors are crucial up and down the line, from how devices are designed and manufactured to how the regulations are updated and revised to how those involved with vehicle lighting talk about it and strive to improve it. Over time, for example, the UN Regulations have grown burdensome in their number and amendment frequency. A monumental shift in how the UN lighting regulations are structured and maintained has just got under way with a recent GRE decision to start forward on a two-stage simplification of the UN lighting and signalling regulations. Duplicative content is to be consolidated, and eventually the regulations are to be recast in performance-based terms aimed at minimising regulatory barriers to technical and technological innovation—and reducing the need for constant amendments in response to the increasingly fast-paced advance of technology.

 
The Future of Automotive Lighting
Tuesday, 17 May 2016

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The target of this report is to better apprehend the future of vehicle lighting and to help managers sharpen their vision with the needed information. It is based on the conclusions of two different events:

1. A strategy session or Think Tank, organized on December 2015 in Frankfurt, Germany, gathering the greatest European experts from automakers, set makers and Tier 2 suppliers.
Starting with keynotes by 2 VIP speakers about their vision on the evolution of the world in general, on cars trends, and on ADAS development in particular, then organising 4 round tables, with 12 attendees for each proposed topic, to have their feedbacks.

2. A survey conducted in April and May 2016 about what is required to achieve good lighting. We sent round a questionnaire to the world's experts in vehicle lighting. We got back 32 answers from :
• Automakers including Audi, BMW, FCA, GM, Hyundai, Opel, Porsche, PSA, Renault, Škoda, and Volvo
• Set makers including AL, Hella, Koito, Mobis, NAL, Stanley, Valeo, and Varroc
• Universities and organizations including Dekra, DVN, ELS, GTB, and LRC.

From the Think Tank, then the survey, we were able to extract the main points which could pave the way in automotive lighting for the future:

1) ADB will be more and more important in automotive lighting, thanks to the camera able to detect the environment of the road.

2) The arrival of autonomous vehicles will only change requirements:
- Comfortable light in order to see the environment and not to feel anxious,
- Special light identification to be clearly seen by others
- Interior lighting with new light sources and materials.
- Additional emission sources for new sensors.

3) Light styling remaining a top differentiation tool.

4) Premium cars remaining the leading edge for innovative lighting.

5) Aiming has to be improved. Autonomous aiming, using the same camera will be more and more used.

6) Standardisation and low cost full LED and Progressive adoption of premium car lighting technologies through affordable options.

7) Personalisation concerning all car segments

8) Compact city cars becoming an important segment

9) Architecture will evolve towards miniaturization, digital solutions, integration

10) Recycling of parts, materials, electronics will become the norm.

 
DVN Motorcycle report PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 21 July 2015

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Motorcycle lighting has long been relegated to poor-sister status. Naturally, as an offshoot of general vehicle lighting technology it has much in common with the lighting on more-wheeled vehicles. But constraints on component size, weight, and power consumption have meant
for as long as motorcycles have had electric lights—almost a century now—those lights have not been up to the task of providing the motorcyclist what's needed for safe driving in the dark, nor for adequate conspicuity to avoid being hit in the daytime.

But now the currently ongoing advent of LEDs and other advanced lighting is rapidly changing that. New technology, new techniques, and new approaches to old problems unique to motorcycle lighting are making it a hot topic. That's why we're proud this week to release DVN's first-ever report on motorcycle lighting. In it, you'll find detailed discussion of lighting issues that don't arise in the car-truck-van-coach world, interviews and commentary by thoughtful experts, discussion of the Tier-1 topography, a look at the newest adaptive motorcycle lighting, description of the unique aspects of the motorcycle OE and aftermarket segments, and over a hundred annotated images. We talked with a lot of people and visited several motorcycle shows to put this report together, and we hope you get as much out of it as we've put into it. There's a preview in this week's Driving Vision News, but to really get the full presentation you'll want to download the whole report.

 
Driving Assistance and Advanced Lighting Systems PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 28 April 2015

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The current convergence of vision, safety and other systems in the automobile presents the entire industry with challenges on a never-before-seen scale. The size, complexity and interaction of these converging systems require paradigm-changing approaches, tools and talent to successfully undertake their development, testing and homologation.

The ever-increasing synergy of Lighting and ADAS, (Advanced Driving Assistance Systems), and V2X connectivity is significant, but this resulting integration will only be a part of the more daunting automotive "mega- architecture" required for semi-autonomous/autonomous driving.

In this update report about ADAS and Lighting technologies, DVN has limited the scope to the automotive Lighting/ADAS/ community faces now and in the near future. The enormously wide range Automated and Connected driving and their ramifications are subjects only dealt with here as how they can effect automotive Lighting.
After having described the current state of art and the need for an integrated systems approach for car-embedded hardware and software, this reports defines the various ADAS functions available on premium car segments and briefly traces their history.

In a next chapter, the two main categories, Advanced Front Lighting Systems with their five features and Adaptive Lighting Systems with their four functions are described followed by the panel of the different global players analyzed.

Sensors are the subject of the 5th chapter with their related image and information processing needs.
Finally the last chapter tries to outline what the outlook of combined Lighting and ADAS systems could be in the next future and which are the main challenges the automobile industry is facing in this context.

 
ADB-Matrix Beam PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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The last ten years have brought numerous innovations in light sources and optical technique. AFS…LEDs…Lasers, and more. But really, the crown jewel innovation in automotive lighting is ADB (Adaptive Driving Beam, also called Glare-Free High Beam). It reached the road in production on the VW Touareg and Phaeton in 2010, and after a few more years LED matrix ADB systems came along, such as those on the 2014 Audi A8 and other models. While the systems all do the same thing in theory—give equipped the driver nearly full high-beam seeing and exposing other drivers only to low-beam glare—the state of the art is advancing rapidly and the methods of achieving the goal are proliferating.

This 60 pages report on ADB and matrix beam explains ADB technology, its benefits and challenges, the science and research on its efficacy, the four technical solutions, in production, development and research phase, with respective SWOT appraisals, and annotated assessment of the ADB driving experience.

Example systems described and assessed in the report include that of the Audi A8, A7 and TT and Mercedes CLS, all launched recently. Worldwide setmakers' production or readiness status is elucidated with regard to ADB/Matrix, and there are interviews with R&D Directors from a variety of involved companies.
There's a state-of-the-regulations section covering ECE and US, and interviews with three automakers' lighting directors: Wolfgang Huhn from Audi, Uwe Kostanzer from Daimler-Benz, and Gunnar Koether from Volkswagen who give their vision on ADB.
It's a timely, informative, engaging report of value especially for those in our lighting community who aren't involved on a day-to-day basis with the rapid development of this "holy grail" technology that stands to resolve the longstanding conflict between seeing and glare in traffic at night.

 

 
Materials & Processes in Automotive Lighting PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 03 September 2013

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This report presents the status of automotive lighting materials and processes developed and used by Tier-1 lighting suppliers. 
The first part of the report is focused on materials for external lenses with the different substrates and the different coatings including anti-fog coatings, and also internal lenses mainly for projector modules with the question mark of glass vs plastic.
In the second part, the author describes the adhesive bonding between housing and external lens emphasizing the advanced bonding technologies.  

Then the reflector material and production are presented emphasising the heavy process of thermoset and the possibility of using other materials such as PEI and even magnesium more adapted to LED light sources. 
The metalisation of reflectors and bezels is another important point of the automotive lighting processes. The metalisation of reflector is focused on perfect reflection of the light while metalisation of the bezel is focused on styling appearance with possibility of bright or colored aspects.

The author closes the report with a presentation of the main material players including Bayer MaterialScience, GXC, Red Spot, SABIC Innovative Plastics, DSM, Eschenbach Optik, and Evonik.
 
Shanghai International Automotive PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 June 2013

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It’s been fifteen amazing years for the Shanghai International Automobile Industry exhibition, which is able to boast is the world’s largest car extravaganza of the year. It has the largest number of exhibitors, the most new model introductions and brings forth the most concept vehicle showings in one place. To establish its massive stance?there were 2,000 manufactures from eighteen countries, 1,300 vehicles on display, 111 global vehicle debuts and 69 amazing concept cars showings. With China being the largest new market on the planet, all the automotive players are focused and competing for the visual prize of being seen and getting there brand noticed with innovation, style and distinct looks. Lighting?both exterior and interior has become one of the mainstays of design innovation. It is a fact that this current decade will be much more challenging and competitive for automotive companies and each of them will be tested to see if they can navigate to deliver positive performance and design looks that will sell there cars.

Often design innovation is born out of necessity or the overwhelming need to do something different in order to get noticed. This years auto show’s theme was “innovation for a better life” This is certainly true with the hottest design area?automotive lighting that continues to expand at an amazing rate. While it is not possible to document every single vehicle lighting design innovation or trend nor would it be a very interesting read, it is possible to break out the major categories to showcase innovative lighting trends, new technologies being used and showcasing unique design looks. Here are my category choices.

• Best-in-Class Lighting Designs
• Unique Design Looks
• New Lighting Design Trends
• New Materials Being Seen

 
NAIAS (Detroit auto show) 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 05 March 2013

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The 2013 NAIAS in Detroit showed impressive innovation and novelty from automakers all over the world, including America and, notably, China.
Several important Firsts were on display, including the first BiHalogen and BiXenon projector headlamps in American-market full-size pickup trucks, the first LED rear combination lamp on a pickup truck from an American maker, and the first LED headlamps and split-field side view mirrors available on a truly mainstream family sedan.

Ram
Black BiHalogen; LED PL, DI, DRL

Acura RLX
Jewel Eye LED headlamp

E-Class
Red Rear Turn Signal

Avalon
LED Dual Square Low Beam

Designers are backing away from the all-chrome look that has dominated headlamps for many years, moving assertively towards blackout looks intended to accentuate the working components of the lamps. There is an increasing trend toward LED daytime running lights and more prevalence of side turn signal repeaters (often LED ones in the side mirrors) even though DRLs and repeaters are merely permitted, not required, in the US market—evidence that American makers are paying more attention to international trends.

That said, the world's manufacturers continue to treat rear turn signal colour as a stylistic matter in the American market, though they cannot reasonably be fully blamed for taking advantage of American regulations that continue to permit the rear indicators to emit red or yellow light despite international consensus for yellow and American data showing yellow to be more effective at preventing crashes.

On the other hand, American-style side marker lights and reflectors have not been widely adopted outside America where they are permitted but not required, despite good evidence they are good and cost-effective crash-avoidance devices.

There is a greater diversity of techniques used to soften the low-beam cutoff and throw light above it for bright illumination of overhead road signs in accord with American preferences. In general, the incremental improvement in lighting system content and performance in new versus old models is at an unprecedented height. Chinese automakers are clearly putting intensive effort towards meeting international regulatory and market expectations, and the Chinese cars on display at the 2013 NAIAS showed miraculous improvement in every respect—this was clearly visible in the technology, technique, fitment, and finish of the lighting equipment on the production and concept cars from China.

This report is narrowly focused on the vision systems of the vehicles on display. Around 150 photographs and 80 pages give a “you-are-there” look at the new vision systems and on the details that make American-specification lighting systems different from their rest-of-world UN-spec counterparts.

 
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