Since the dawn of lights on cars, the vehicle lighting industry has never stopped evolving. Propelled on its way from success to innovative success by pioneers like Pierre Cbié, François Bailly, Gerard Lindae, David Moore, Humberto Candoni, and Dr Ernst, and many others who carried on the work and tradition of innovation in our field. The pace of progress has accelerated exponentially in the last decade, and the term revolution is more apt than mere evolution to describe the current state of things. New challenges result from technical breakthroughs that allow (and thus create market demand for) automotive applications of technologies originating outside the greater automotive realm: cameras, radar, image processing, embedded software, control systems, connectivity, data fusion, etc. These technologies are operated, administered, adapted, and self-diagnosed network-style with a great deal of communication and interdependence among them. The skills needed to assemble them in a unified and reliable real-time function range from complex systems engineering to being able to qualify and quantify users’ experience.
Will it be easier for the automotive lighting industry to acquire these new skills or for digital players to enter the automotive world? Will partnerships between both worlds prevail? In any case, the battle for the best place in the value chain has started.
It arises especially as future ruptures do not relate only to the introduction of new technologies, but also on the introduction of new uses, and therefore new business models. We can learn from what happened in the world of photography: the rapid decline of Kodak shows us that new technology can disrupt a long-successful business and transform a well-established market terrain. And that the winners are those who master the new skills, develop new technologies, and challenge conventional approaches.
In such a period of transformation, what some see as risks can become opportunities for others. Working in the vehicle lighting industry today should be seen as the chance to be an actor of a transformation that will reshape our entire industry.
For over a hundred years, the vehicle lighting industry has always been able to reinvent itself. This new evolution should be an additional factor of motivation for mobile lighting engineers and attract young talent to our companies to reinvent tomorrow’s lighting.
Again, I wish you a great and prosperous new year.
DVN Editor in Chief