DVN: All lighting companies consider LED as technology of the future. Nevertheless, there are still several challenges.
What is your feeling one year after the start of production of Cadillac Escalade Platinium about production and reliability issues?
HTD: Xenon and LED will improve the human vision during nighttime drives. But basically nighttime-visibility depends on the output of the light sources used. Regarding this, Xenon light is unbeaten so far. Nevertheless the LED has a big potential, especially regarding styling and lifetime. For main light functions we will see both systems on the streets in future. Additionally to the Cadillac Escalade strong styling driven full LED headlamps will be on the road soon. The full LED headlamp in the Cadillac Escalade Platinum was our first series headlamp with that new technology. The current production is running very well and we do not expect any reliability issues.
DVN: Some car makers and some suppliers consider Pixel light as the future of automotive lighting. Do you think we will see cars with such a technology in the next 10 years?
HTD: As a next step it is important to roll out the LED technology into volume segments. In parallel the development of LED arrays will be one of the major topics of future car concepts. This technology offers the possibility to address each single LED chip in an array, so that a customized light pattern, adaptable to all traffic or environmental situations is possible. It seems to be very attractive to finally have a full programmable, electronic headlamp without any mechanical moving parts. But the LED Pixel technology is currently still on advanced development status with large technological challenges. Nevertheless in a timeframe of 10 years it might be possible to see cars with such a technology.
DVN: In these last 10 years, many technologies are coming with more and more expenses needed. If we add expenses with more and more models on the market with shorten cycle time, we can understand the bad financial situation of most lighting suppliers. What are you doing to come back in a better situation?
HTD: To avoid unnecessary spending in R&D we established a very stringent and sustainable process to select our R&D topics. At the end of this process we make very clear decisions for which topics we invest our resources. These decisions are taken and the results are reviewed on a regular basis with the involvement of Sales, Program Management, Purchasing and Production. This process was already established in 2006 and guarantees especially in today’s economical crisis a reliable basis for our customers.