Indubitably the future of automotive lighting is adaptive. The main questions are just what do we mean by adaptive lighting, and how do we make it? Right now many different types of systems are included under the umbrella term “adaptive lighting”, but we predict that term will progress towards being understood to mean the glare-free permanent high beam. Many studies were presented on it during the last VISION Congress in 2012 and the recent DVN workshops in Detroit and Shanghai.
But the second question is more elusive. We have followed with strong interest Dr. Huhn’s lecture last month about Audi’s chosen technological way path, the matrix beam. That’s worth paying attention to; Audi are building quite the track record as pioneers in automotive lighting technology. Huhn, Audi’s General Manager of Lighting and Vision Systems says this matrix LED technology opens the door to a host of innovative possibilities for lamp sizes, shapes and configurations, replacing mechanical systems in the future . And with a measure of computer control to each of the individual LED that make up the high beam unit, the matrix LED system can independently activate groups of them in a way that eliminates the need for the entire lamp to swivel or be dipped when the vehicle is driven into a corner or encounters oncoming traffic (or enters a country with other-side traffic, or…!).
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (FMER) is sponsoring a research project on adaptive lighting systems. The project will seek to combine microelectronics and optoelectronics to enable autonomous camera-based control of LED headlamps with no mechanical actuators. The FMER project will seek to develop a technology framework that can be broadly used by all the world’s automakers .
But matrix beams can be tricky to implement, and actuator technology and technique are continuing to evolve, too, so it might be premature to forecast a future without actuators. We are awaiting the first matrix-type glare free high beam at the end of the year on the Audi A8. How will the lighting performance measure up, and at what price? The answer will come very soon, as will other makers’ variety of answers.
These coming years will be wonderful and eventful in the automotive lighting world. We’re glad to be here to document and comment on it, and glad you’re here with us!
DVN Editor in Chief