NAIAS is now closed. What a difference a year makes. Just last year, things looked grim. There was not much ground for hope in lighting or DA innovation in the American market. There were a few bright spots but they were mostly employed as marketeering gimmicks.
But the 2011 Detroit motor show was alive with lighting vastly better than what went before in terms of design, technology, technique, and performance. There is new, passionate focus on lighting as a brand signature, as an advertising billboard for a vehicle’s technological content and model identity, and as an important active safety system—not just a legal requirement to be met in the cheapest and easiest way possible. There is new pride being put into and drawn from lighting.
– Vehicle model names are being incorporated in style elements within headlamps.
– The highly-efficient, long-life new type of HIR2 halogen bulb is being widely applied in new highly-efficient projector optics as basic equipment on a lot of new cars.
– LEDs are suddenly catching favour with makers who have in the past been utterly uninterested in anything but minimally adequate lighting.
It is exciting to see the American market wake up and begin to catch some of the passion for lighting that has long been lopsidedly European and Asian. The 2011 Detroit motor show featured not just one or two but a lot of American cars with lighting much better and fancier than it minimally has to be. We can all look forward to new innovations and contributions to the global state of the art from North American practitioners.
A promising trend is the rapid uptake and proliferation of electronic driver assistance systems. They are fast being integrated into American-market models, and it is now easy to foresee the day in the near future when the major driver-assist functions are considered just as much a standard-equipment item as headlamps or tires on a car.
Another trend that bears watching: lots of lighting devices (and windows, mirrors, etc.) on cars from many makers at the 2011 motor show had the “CCC” Chinese type-approval mark. It is a small, discreet sign of a giant shift: the rise of the Chinese market to global preeminence. It will be interesting to see how China’s position as the biggest and fastest-growing auto market affects the mix of models (and how they are configured and equipped) in the US, which until just recently was the world’s foremost vehicle market.
Today, DVN release the report on the 2011 NAIAS motor show. It focuses on the lighting equipment, technology, and techniques that are new or otherwise interesting and notable. There are more than 90 clear, sharp, high-dynamic-range photos presented to show lighting devices and configurations not often seen outside North America.
Driving Vision News