Headlamps and Rear lamps played a big part in the evolution of the car: slope of the front, shape and contour of the headlamps and rear lamps, show case effect, and perceived quality.
After presenting the 10 innovation in front and the 10 innovation in the rear which were the most significant in styling eveolution, the report shows in detail the involved fields as optics, thermics, electronics, testing, materials, regulations and the light sources which were often in the center of the styling evolution.
Ten models, premium and generalist, in Europe, America and Asia are analyzed, decade after decade, emphasizing what lighting componants then lighting systems bring model after model.
In the story of vehicle lightstyling, two periods stand out as particularly important: The 1985–’93 timeframe starts just after the American mandate for standard-size-and-shape sealed-beam headlamps was finally dropped after over four decades, and ends just after ECE Regulations began permitting plastic headlight lenses. And the 2005–’10 timeframe saw LEDs break out from their former confinment to minor functions (CHMSL, dashboard indicators), first to DRLs and then to the main headlamp functions, allowing vast new design possibilities to radically change the appearance of cars.
We are now at the start of what surely looks like another significant timeframe in this arena. New lighting functions like Welcome and Farewell displays, dynamic signal lights, digital headlamps, OLED lamps, and light-based displays will once again take a lead role in unprecedented changes to car design.
During this review of five decades’ worth of lightstyles, we have seen many remarkable technical evolutions marrying astonishing style novelties. From simple vertical striated lenses with steel reflectors to LED ADB systems with slim headlamps treated as jewels, from simple rectangular rear lamps with bulbs to LEDs or OLEDs in stylish designs incorporating audacious light guides or very homogeneous 3D appearance, the way was always paved with more safety and more style attractiveness.
Now we are in a period with a huge challenge for the automotive community to succeed in the electrification of vehicles and to overcome the economic shock of the coronavirus crisis. Surely lighting will continue to be a crucial focal point for creative and important design and style innovations. We foresee its evolution flowing in these directions:
• Endless appearance differentiation
• Decoration and Welcome/Farewell
• Dynamics from lights
All these different new functions will propose a styling innovation. For instance, new projections signs will have to be both clearly understandable and nice; the new signals functions that will better welcome the drivers or communicate with pedestrians will certainly be the opportunity to find new styling differentiation as well as displays will need to be as attractive for the eyes as readable.
These marvelous technologies currently so expensive at the beginning will find their economic way to be installed intensively on cars, as always, decreasing with the quantities produced. For instance, LEDs that are now the standard equipment for all new cars were at their beginning in 2007 many times more expensive than a standard Xenon system. In fact, every technology bringing safety through better performance, better information to other and perhaps above all bringing styling novelty has a chance to succeed. The cost decrease is naturally the other important condition. And for the new technologies explained before, a lot of them are using microprocessors techniques or are incorporating in their cost a lot of software, both being very sensitive to cost decrease with quantities.
The lighting world of tomorrow will be as thrilling as it was in the past after a consolidation period. And as it was in the past, these new functions mainly studied and justified for safety reasons will have a strong styling content. With six senior lighting experts through the best worldwide experts, DVN is working in a study analysing the evolutions to come and particularly the new functions that will be the future of lighting. This study will be published soon.