Saab could be missed in the automotive lighting community PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 28 December 2009
GM have declared Saab will be shut down and liquidated rather than sold.
The Swedish automaker is widely known for their unconventional engineering approaches and endearingly quirky designs, but before Saab's lights go out forever, it's well to mind their attention to lighting innovation over the years.

In the 1970s, Saab were early adopters of DRL (then known as "perception lights") and headlamp wipers, both of which soon became required equipment in Scandinavian countries.
Saabs were the first volume-produced cars to come equipped with side turn signal repeaters in North America, and with front cornering lamps that illuminate on both sides when the vehicle is shifted into reverse, to help the driver negotiate tight parking spaces after dark.
- Saab cooperated with Hella to provide the first commercialisation of the lighting firm's efficient new duo-focal H4 headlamp reflectors in 1986 as an upgrade accessory, and duo-focal reflectors were standard equipment on Saab 900s worldwide from 1987.
- Five years later, Saab 9000s came with advanced SC1, SC2, and SC3 Complex Surface Reflector headlamps and fog lamps from Valeo. As the state of the art of vehicular lighting advanced, Saab tended to specify high-performance lighting systems, better than just the minimum legal requirements in technology, technique, and performance.
- In 2009 at Frankfurt motor show, Saab presented their 9.5 second generation with AFS/BiXenon Smart Beam and innovative light guides in front and rear lights.

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2010 International Geneva Motor Show PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 15 March 2010

Driving Vision News is publishing this week its report on the March 2010 Geneva Motor Show. For those who could not attend the show, you will find 45 pages presenting all the new concept and production cars exhibited in Geneva, with our usual zoom on their lighting equipment in relation with styling, safety and energy consumption.

This 2010's Geneva auto show was centred around one strong priority: the reduction of energy consumption.  Alternative power train technologies dominated the fair. Green being the key word,  Automakers have focused their communication on electric vehicles and power consumption reduction rather than on the comfort and safety benefits to be derived from lighting and DA technologies.
Main innovative concept cars shown:
• Citroën DS High Rider presented in an impressive booth
• Mercedes F800 which unveils MB's future styling direction
• Opel Flextreme which confirms the high level of GM/Opel innovation expertise in green cars
• SR1 and 5byPeugeot which preview Peugeot’s new flagship
• Fluence ZE and other concept cars which emphasise the involvement of Renault in electric cars
Main innovative production cars launched:
• Audi A1 and A8 which display the constant innovative spirit of Audi
• Ford Focus demonstrating Ford's strong ambition
• Nissan Leaf with innovative LED headlamp styling
• Toyota Auris with high-tech headlamp and dual-function fog/DRL lights
• Volvo S60 with pedestrian detection technology and innovative LED rear lamps

The 4 main takeaway points are:

• Geneva 2010 was totally focused on green cars
• Green promotion drowns out communication on lighting and driver assistance
• Front and rear of the car are increasingly the main areas of styling innovation and differentiation
• Many interesting production and concept cars were shown
I hope you will enjoy reading this report

General Editor

Editorial PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 08 March 2010
Two years ago, the TÜV Rheinland organisation presented a study of actual German traffic crash data showing up to 18% fewer fatal accidents as a result of the increased use of xenon headlamps. The study forecast that a full switch to xenon would prevent 1200 crashes on German roadways, and lower the nighttime traffic death toll by 18%. If these results remain valid when applied to Europe at large—and there's no reason to think they can't be—it would mean about 8,800 lives saved and 92,000 injury crashes prevented.

HMM, the Hannover Medical School, is publishing a study showing the positive effect of xenon headlampson safety. HMM has studied crashes from the GIDAS database involving cars equipped with halogen headlamps. Their analysis  is based on dynamic reconstruction of real crashes and simulation of the situation if the cars involved had been equipped with xenon lamps instead. They analysed in detail 20 cases of the most frequent types of nighttime crash; the results show that  4 of those 20 crashes could have been completely avoided if only the cars involved had been equipped with Xenon headlamps, and 6 others partially because speed or alcohol were also involved (see details in our in-depth section). Clearly a positive safety effect of Xenon headlamps has been established.

The combination of these 2 studies, the first statistical and the second practical, prove that Xenon headlighting is a safety feature which saves lives and prevents injury and property damage. All of us in the lighting community are wise to remember that, and to promote high-performance lighting systems more fervently and persistently.
With seasonal greetings, best wishes for a happy and properous new year PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 21 December 2009

It's difficult to believe 2009 is almost done. It's been a rocky year for the global economy and especially for the auto industry, but it's also been a year of great innovation and technically significant commercialisations in the vehicle lighting and driver assistance fields.

We at DVN are sincerely glad to have shared in your ups and downs this year, and we're looking forward to an exciting 2010.

We wish everyone in the Driving Vision News community a merry Christmas, a restful, joyous holidays and a happy new year!

Interview with Shuichi Goto, Koito Executive VP, October 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 December 2009
“In 2015, Koito will produce LED headlamps with better performances than Xenon at the same price”.

After studying mechanical engineering at Kyoto University, Shuiti Goto joined Toyota in 1969. Later, in 1997, he was appointed Director at Koito Manufacturing Co., Ltd., where he now is Executive Vice President as well as Chief Director of Technology and Chief Director of Accounting.

DVN: Koito is the automotive lighting leader in Asia. What about America and how do you work with North American Lighting?
At present, NAL is the largest lamp manufacturer in North America, having 19% of the market share in that region. Since 1983, it has been supplying lamps to major North American automobile manufacturers. It started as a joint venture corporation, but now it’s 100% subsidiary of Koito Manufacturing and it has a technical center and four plants in the United States.
As regards product development, while Koito carries out development of the advanced technologies such as the AFS and LED headlamp, NAL takes charge once the technology is transferred to NAL. Comprehensive manufacturing from product development through volume production is possible at NAL.
Currently, about 80% of the NAL products are supplied to the local plants of Japanese car manufacturers and the remaining 20% are supplied to North American car manufacturers. We intend to increase the percentage of the supply to the North American manufacturers.

DVN: Europe is a great potential market for Koito. How would you formulate Koito ambitions for Europe after your first experiences?
Unfortunately, Koito’s share in the European market is small. We consider the European lamp manufacturers as strong competitors, as they have a long history and are rooted in tradition of the automotive culture.
In contrast, Koito’s history in Europe is short. Also, because European car manufacturers’ development methods, views on required quality, etc. differ from those of the Japanese, we were not sure of how we should address these differences at first. However, as our development progressed, we gradually learned to deal with those European manufacturers.

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