When asked to present a lecture to engineers of the famous French École des Arts et Métiers about “Past and Future in Automotive Lighting”, I started looking at the history. Three periods appeared: the 30 years since 1960, the 15 years since 1990 and the six years since 2005, with an incredible and permanent acceleration of innovations. These last six years have brought us all kinds of enormous improvements: full AFS, high beam assistant, adaptive cutoff, glare-free high beam, marker light, full LED headlamps, and more are arriving steadily. I wondered how lighting suppliers were able to develop so many innovations so quickly!
Obviously competition among suppliers is linked to their capacity to remain at the cutting edge of new technologies and styling, and that’s also true for carmakers once they realize that 25% of the looks of a car are based on head and rear lighting appearance. But the introduction of lighting innovations is hindered by at least two factors:
1) A great increase of engineering resources is needed, at the suppliers level as well as at the OEMs. DVN developed this point in details a few months ago.
2) Costs must decrease to allow the lower segment of the car range to benefit from these innovations.
All of us—automakers, lighting suppliers, researchers, and regulators—need to cooperate and collaborate more. Money is needed to hire and to train people and to launch studies with universities. If we want to maintain the current flow rate of innovation, we should make sure that corporate management, especially at car makers, is aware of the key contribution of new lighting technologies to buyer’s positive perception.
DVN General editor