For the past five years or so, automakers have dreamed out loud of the rapid arrival of really self-driving cars, forecasting commercialisation of 100% autonomous cars by 2020. And it wasn’t just automakers; everyone had the same idea: big tech, Lyft and Uber, automotive suppliers and equipment manufacturers, and regulators.
Well…here we are, it’s 2020, and that dream
has revealed itself to be much higher up on a much steeper hill; it’s a promise
that has been widely whittled down to partially automated driving in
ultra-connected vehicles. The definition of the L1 to L5
autonomy scale was the prelude to a brutal return to earth and a realistic
reassessment of the timeframe. 2020’s most autonomous cars are L3, and
although Ford in 2016 said vehicle lighting would be a thing of the past
(“our autonomous test vehicles can drive in the dark, with no lights”!), lighting
is in fact alive and well, with a bright future as far as can be foreseen:
better lights, brighter lights, more useful lights, and more polyvalent lights
with ADB and new functions.
“Light is now,the central to creating ambiance, providing information, generating alerts and is playing an increasingly important role in the comfort and safety of everyone inside the car.”
Several lectures at the DVN Workshop in Munich
showed this importance of lighting inside and outside the car. Inside, to help drivers
and passengers to better enjoy their trip, to help them enter and make best use
of their space and time in the car, and to arrive in the best condition thanks
to dynamic lights.
Outside—a far cry from the no-exterior-lights predictions, instead there’s ever smarter automatic switching and selection of functions and beams, ever more advanced lighting and signalling, and new functions in very active development. Progress on these innovations will be presented in detail at the next DVN Workshop in Tokyo, on 26–27 May this year.
In this week’s newsletter, you will find an article celebrating the birthday of Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of the electric light bulb. We review ten highlights of history from the first electric lighting systems for vehicles in 1913, to modern lighting systems with ADB and new lighting functions.