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Published 19th March, 2019
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We Must Fast-Track AV Lighting Research

The first autonomous vehicles are arriving on the roads—in low volumes so far, but their numbers will only increase at an accelerating pace. Yet we don't see much progress toward worldwide specifications for two AV-specific lights: identification lamps to mark AVs as such, and intention lights to communicate with pedestrians.

At the end of a meeting organised last week by ELS on the progress of their students, I led a round table discussion—experts from PSA, Renault, AL, Valeo, and Vedecom participated—on light communication for safety and acceptance of autonomous vehicles.
The main takeaway conclusion: there is no clear direction to rapidly succeed. More specifically:

  • Stakeholders round the world are working in their own ways, with little apparent regard for apposite research from the likes of Darmstadt and ELS/KIT, also considering it is difficult to find room on the car to fit new lights and there are compliance risks
  • The regulation process is problematically long and slow, whether it's GRE and WP.29 or national administrations outside the UN Regulationsphere and it is difficult to regroup money in this hard time to lead studies.
  • GTB/GRE have to combine in same time regulation simplication and AV regulation
  • Not enough prototypes and samples.

So there's a big risk of having no standard, no regulated specification for new lights important for the safety and acceptance of AVs. That's a problem, because we have this opportunity to develop new lights with the benefit of safety and also styling differentiation—if we do it in a coordinated, thoughtful manner in accord with sensible, appropriate standardisation.

Take the example of the DRL: it was not easy at that time to define specifications then to put them into regulations, but we succeeded, and no stakeholder involved in lighting today regrets it.
We have to take the opportunity of coming DVN Shanghai workshop and ISAL symposium to talk together and accelerate the process.

On other topics: Thanks again to all those who helped DVN during my absence, and to those who sent very kind mails after the publication of last week's announcement that I'm back. These quotes neatly summarise dozens of mails I received: "I am sincerly happy to hear that you finally recovered from your incident and that you are back to your passion." "I really felt the community of lighting really concerned about you. It is great to see you are back." "I'm happy to see you take over Driving Vision News. This is the most beautiful news that DVN has ever broadcast!"

I will do my best to continue helping the lighting community.

Sincerely yours,

DVN President

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