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.

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