Growing interest and demand for innovative interior lighting is driven perhaps mostly by European carmakers, but also by American and Asian car manufacturers as fast followers. Meanwhile, all carmakers have detected the great potential of interior lighting to improve psychological and physiological comfort, safety, orientation, information, and communication—and for setting brand identifiers and amplifying style highlights in the car interior. The control of the interior lighting is increasingly made intelligent by connecting the lighting functions with the vehicle’s cameras, sensors, and electronics.
Autonomous Driving is a turbo for the development of interior lighting; it allows completely new activities inside the car, which in turn call for enhanced interior lighting. Passengers will enjoy new opportunities and freedoms as the car becomes a rolling smartphone, office, and living room all in one. This accelerates the demand for more luxury in an intelligent, pleasant, and functional ambient lighting environment.
In around 9,000 words and 200 pictures, this report presents today’s interior lighting and likely trends for the future. The big trend in interior lighting, as seen at the latest auto shows, is for a growing number of lighting applications inside vehicles: contour and indirect lighting, decoration trims; stylish light patterns in headliners, seats and illuminated panoramic roofs, ambient lighting, light animation for welcome and goodbye modes, interior lighting features as brand identifiers, “smart” trim parts with integrated cognitive and connected lighting and electronics, and predefined or user-selectable light colours by dint of RGB LED arrays.
The trend to more interior lighting applications runs parallel to the trend to a higher number of electronic systems for cognitive and connected interior and exterior lighting products: larger displays and touchscreens in instrument panels and centre consoles, proximity sensors instead of traditional switches for lamp activation, gestural and voice control instead of switches, and intelligent light control for electric cars (e.g., connected with the power supply detection).