This year, as usual, I took great pleasure in visiting the IAA Frankfurt motor show last week. It is a good opportunity to talk with colleagues and associates in the lighting world while viewing a new model or a concept car. I only regret this year so many brands decided not to participate in the motor show.
About lighting, I was disappointed by the weak presentations on new lighting functions. Of course there’s no real need to promote light styling innovations, because they promote themselves—lighting is, and will remain, one of the main styling features to make the difference, whether it’s innovative DRLs, front and rear position lights with a brand-specific shape, or any of the other grand lighting flourishes designers are treating us to.
But we certainly must promote innovations in function! That doesn’t happen on its own; the car buyer usually doesn’t see the added value of new lighting functions before driving at night, and most buyers don’t test-drive cars after dark. So they remain uninformed or indifferent. This is not good enough; we have to front-load the communication about lighting to entice buyers to try out the lights at night—or at least to go into the carbuying process with a reasonable amount of knowledge about their options for good seeing and conspicuity at night.
We have achieved, with ADB’s glare-free high beam, what can legitimately be called the most significant innovation in vehicle lighting in the last century; we should be shouting it from the rooftops with trumpet fanfares! Yet at IAA, absolute silence from the automakers (except Audi’s showcase). Nothing from lighting suppliers visible to the public, either; they only let automakers into their confidential displays.
So how could we promote lighting under these conditions? Of course we cannot, so I have an urgent message I lay at the feet of all industry players reading this: automakers and lighting suppliers, you really must promote your biggest innovations directly to the public. Go on TV, go on social media, go on YouTube, go to all the media explaining what is ADB, how the equipped driver gets high-beam seeing while exposing others to only low-beam glare, and without having to remember to change between low and high beam. Tell them about the huge extra seeing distance at night, and what this means for preventing crashes and pedestrian hits!
In this week’s DVN we present a great meany innovations done by you—why are the end-users not being informed? This is my main regret in DVN, that I have so far not been able to convince you to promote your wonderful achievements.