I’ve been attending and actively participating in the ISALs— the famous symposium organised by the university of Darmstadt and the efficient Pr. Khanh—and their predecessor PALs since 1995. Last week was the number-tenth ISAL, and it showcased the enormous progress we are making in every aspect of vehicle lighting.
At the end of the congress, when Pr Khanh presented the steering committee composed of OEMs, Tier 1&2 suppliers, regulators, I understood why automotive lighting is so innovative. There is a real lighting community which thanks to its networking capacity, allows mutually-respectful sharing of precious information to accelerate innovation. Two examples:
• Two years ago, BMW first mentioned laser beam headlamps at IAA. It was a big surprise and everyone was interested but nobody really thought it would come true any time soon. But now only two years later, during ISAL a lot of lectures presented the progress on automotive laser technology and now the idea is more and more credible.
• Pixel-Matrix was a dream just a few years ago and we see the first system in production today and numerous presentations exploring its great potential.
It’s true that this is an intensively research-heavy period for the car industry, given all the disruptive technologies emerging. For automakers, after the 2009 crisis the only way out was innovation. Ever-tightening curbs on emissions are forcing companies to develop more efficient engines and electric vehicles, while innovations such as self-driving cars and vehicles that connect to the internet create fresh technological challenges. This being stated, I do not see such rapid technology changes outside the lighting realm as I do within it. As Cesar Muntada says in this week’s interview, all the OEMs have now realized the importance of light design thanks to the dynamism of the lighting community and our pioneers who were able to predict the accelerating interest in lighting and lead the way.
DVN Editor in Chief