1. What is the future of the new lighting systems that you are developing? How soon will those be implemented?
We expect the first LED headlamps in the marketplace this year from Lexus and Audi on limited volume vehicles. The use of LEDs in headlamps in mass production is probably still 5 or more years away. Where we will see more rapid LED forward lighting penetration is on daytime running lights and fog applications because they are technologically easier and the requirements for those applications are not as demanding.
2. How interested are the OEMs in pursuing advanced lighting systems? Are they asking OSRAM to assist in the development of these systems from their styling departments and engineering departments?
The lighting industry is looking for ways to incorporate LEDs into their products. The car companies are looking for the lighting industry to present them with alternatives. I think everyone realizes that this is not a short-term development. The stylists are anxious to use LEDs to create new appearances and excitement in the design of their vehicles.
3. Your company has done a survey among dealers about customer response to the systems that have been introduced so far. What are the results?
The survey shows that dealers are not as well informed as we would like them to be when it comes to new technologies. One of our challenges, therefore, is to educate dealers so they can help consumers understand what lighting options are available. The survey also shows that once introduced to Xenon lighting, consumers became very supportive, and, in fact, 97% of the people who have cars with Xenon today told us they will be looking for it again on their next vehicle. It’s a common phenomenon in lighting that people get used to the technology they have available and adapt to it, but when introduced to something better, they then increase their expectations.
4. Night vision has come into automotive applications on an increasing basisWhat is the outlook for that?
The opportunity for additional passive safety is not so great going forward because so much has already been done in this area, but the opportunity for active safety, that is to say devices that give the driver information to help avoid collisions and to protect the occupants immediately before or during a collision is wide open. Night vision is only one of a number of different ways we can use LED technology to improve driver safety.
5. Don’t the night vision systems also identify objects that are beyond the lighting ranges of vehicles, and help to show up things the drivers may not be able to see and assist in try to avoid accidents?
By using emitters outside the visible spectrum, we extend the reach of lighting systems. And by coupling those infrared emitters with sophisticated camera technology, we can communicate by a heads-up display street scenes beyond the range of normal headlamps. And the beauty of this is we can do it without obstructing the view of other drivers.
6. What is the outlook for systems that tell the driver he is falling asleep at the wheel, particularly in a single vehicle situation, or even to help stop the car from colliding with something?
Infrared emitters in other safety devices tat are sophisticated enough to enable us to pick up physiological changes in a driver’s behavior such as a nodding head or droopy eyelids. Other devices will determine precisely where someone is sitting in a seat to facilitate more effective deployment of an airbag. There are many opportunities that have not been put in place in the market.
7. What is the outlook for these systems? Can drivers expect that these systems will be available across the board? How many years?
We cannot yet tell if ore when these innovations will be adopted across the board. We know that car companies are interested in features that help them improve and differentiate different models. It is likely that new technologies using visible and infrared LEDs will be used in different vehicle classes – at least until consumers demand them in all vehicle types and they have also become less costly This process can take 10 years or more